The Belize International Business Company (IBC) is a type of private company that can be incorporated in Belize under the local IBC laws which are specific to this jurisdiction. It has a set of characteristics that make it appropriate for foreign investors and popular among those who wish to open an offshore company.
The Belize IBC is an advantageous type of offshore company used by investors interested in trading but also for tax planning and asset protection. Below, we highlight some of the main advantages of opening an IBC:
- fast incorporation: the incorporation of a new IBC company can take as little as a few hours to two days.
- no taxation: Belize is one of the jurisdictions in the world that does not impose corporate income tax for its IBC.
- stable regime: Belize is a member of the British Commonwealth and also of the United Nationals.
- diverse economy: the offshore industry is an important contributor to the GDP, however, Belize’s economy is a diversified one.
- accessibility: Belize is easily accessible by se or air and the time-zone location is also a convenient one for international investors.
This type of company is easy to incorporate and has many advantages from the taxation point of view. Our Belize company formation agents can give you in-depth details about the investment climate in the country and the many advantages for foreign investors who set up an offshore corporation here. In case you would like to start a company in another country, for example setting up an offshore company in the Isle of Man, we can put you in contact with our partners.
This type of company is easy to incorporate and has many advantages from the taxation point of view. Our Belize company formation agents can give you in-depth details about the investment climate in the country and the many advantages for foreign investors who set up an offshore corporation here.
The table below summarizes some of the main characteristics of the International Business Company in Belize:
Suited to many business needs
The international business company (IBC) is a type of company suited for traders, consultants in various fields or entrepreneurs who wish to open an online business. Likewise, it can be easily used for inheritance or tax planning purposes.
A minimum number of restrictions
A number of restrictions do apply in terms of acquiring, holding or dealing with intellectual property assets.
No need for special permits
The international business company can, in most cases, operate without special permits and licenses. There are a few restrictions, however, and the application and licensing in these cases is performed with the International Financial Commission. They apply for the provision of international insurance services, payment processing services, trading in foreign exchange, accounting services and a number of other business activities.
The special taxation regime for the IBC is perhaps one of the greatest advantages for investors. The company is exempt from corporate taxation in Belize and has no mandatory annual reporting requirements when it does not have a physical presence established.
The IBC is a legal entity, which means that it has legal personality and it has commercial rights, it can enter into agreements, commence legal proceedings and it has a separate legal identity from its founders.
Our Belize company registration specialists can give you more details on the particularities of using an IBC as an investment and/or tax planning vehicle. In case you are interested in opening an offshore company in another jurisdiction, for example in Mauritius, we can put you in contact with our partners.
Our agents invite you to watch the following video on the formation of an IBC in Belize:
The IBC in Belize is a flexible business structure and, as highlighted above, one which is not subject to taxation in the situation in which it chooses not to maintain a physical presence in Belize. This is an important advantage and it allows investors to use the business entity for a variety of purposes.
The Belize IBC can be used for asset protection, for offshore banking and offshore investment and as a holding company. Entrepreneurs who wish to open a company in order to provide services (not in Belize but in other locations) will also find that the tax-exempt legal structure is advantageous. The IBC can be used for trading activities but also for different e-businesses. for example, consultants can offer their services via an IBC or it can be used for owning real-estate (with a few applicable restrictions).
Many entrepreneurs who open a Belize company will find it easy and also advantageous to work via a virtual office. Our team can help you with a virtual office package that will allow you to maintain a local phone number and a postal address if you choose to do so. In case you are interested in opening a company in Denmark, we can put you in touch with our partners who can assist you through the entire company formation procedure.
Investors need to follow a few steps in order to open an offshore company in Belize. The company can be incorporated in as little as twenty-four hours if all the documents are in order and the name check and reservations are complete.
A bank account will be needed when opening a company and investors will find that banks in Belize offer good corporate packages with accounts in various currencies and internal banking options. A merchant account is also an option and a necessity for some times of businesses, namely the e-commerce businesses.
There is no requirement for a minimum capital in Belize and, upon incorporation, the founders can state any desired amount for the authorizes capital (this is included in the company’s constitutive documents). This authorized capital is freely determined and it refers to the amount received from the shareholders for the company shared. It does not have a certain timeframe during which it needs it to be paid up by the shareholders. However, the shares, when they are issued by the IBC, do need to be paid up. One of our agents can provide investors with more details about the share capital in case they wish to open an offshore company in Belize.
Investors should know that even though there are no taxes for the IBC, a Government fee does apply and it is paid annually. The actual fee will depend on the amount of authorized capital and it will be larger as the capital grow. For example, the usual starting tax is 150 per year for a Belize IBC that has an authorized capital of no more than 50,000 $. For the first year, the tax will be even lower, at 100$. Other set up costs in Belize will include the ones directly related to company incorporation. examples include the package for a virtual office, the costs for the registered agent and other administrative costs. Our Belize company formation agents offer incorporation services at competitive prices that usually include a full incorporation offer. You can reach out to us for more details about what our special packages include.
When opening an IBC company in Belize, investors can issue registered shares that may be classified into several classes, including voting and non-voting shares, as well as no par value shares or those that have special provisions (allowing for multiple votes or allowing for voting only on certain matters). The International Business Company cannot issue bearer shares. Other share forms that are accepted include redeemable shares, preferential shares or common shares.
Belize is a recognized offshore center, with a fast company registration procedure and high investor confidentiality. This last trait is an important one for many investors because it allows them to incorporate a company without having to disclose their identity. There is no mandatory record of the beneficial owners, company directors and shareholders and investors can choose to appoint a nominee director and/or shareholder. The identity of the registered agent will be made public, however, this is a service that can be provided upon request and it is also offered by our team of experts.
A new Amendment on the International Business Companies Act introduces a set of new provisions for these types of companies. One of the most notable is that there is a clear distinction between companies that choose to maintain a physical presence in Belize (which is mandatory for financial activities, for example), and those that choose not to establish a physical presence and will therefor engage only in activities outside of this jurisdiction. An important consequence of this new amendment is that IBCs that decide to maintain a physical presence will be subject to treatment as resident companies for tax purposes.
An International Business Company in Belize will need to follow the general guidelines on selecting an appropriate name. A new IBC cannot have a name that is the same as that of a company that has already been registered. Moreover, the company may not be registered if the name is very similar to that of another company. In some cases, the existing company with a similar name may give its consent for the name used. However, it is recommended to consult with one of our Belize company registration agents before attempting to use a similar company name as this may hinder the registration process and investors will lose the advantage of fast company incorporation.
Some of the names that are prohibited from use include the following words: royal, municipal, cooperative, imperial, chamber of commerce or chartered, to name a few. The IBC is also not allowed to use a registered name that contains words such as a bank, insurance, trust or assurance. The company will need to include the type, such as a limited, corporation, incorporated or an abbreviation of its type, like Ltd., Corp., Inc., and others.
As far as the accounting requirements are concerned, Belize has minimum ones. Every company is required to keep the accounting records in Belize at the registered office or at the registered agent’s office. However, it can also decide to keep them at another place outside of Belize, if the directors decide so. In this case, the company must offer a written record of the address where they are kept to the registered agent.
The term accounting records includes the following: financial records, sales slips, contracts, invoices, general ledgers, sales, and purchases as well as any other documents that refer to the financial transactions in which the legal entity involved.
The fact that these records do not have to be kept in Belize offers a higher degree of flexibility compared to other jurisdictions that may have mote stringers accounting requirements. Our team of Belize offshore company formation specialists can provide interested investors with more details about these minimum requirements.
The list below is a summary of some of the most important issues regarding IBC companies that have physical presence versus those that do not establish a physical presence in Belize:
- property ownership: unrestricted when if the company has no physical presence in Belize.
- tax on dividends and interest on bonds (paid or received): these are tax exempt in all cases.
- business within Belize: this is possible only for companies that establish a physical presence; those that do not may not conduct business in the country.
- recommended authorized capital: 50,000 $.
- the official language of the documents: English.
- mandatory physical presence: only in the case of companies that are to apply for a license from the International Financial Service Commission.
- corporate seal: mandatory for all companies; the imprint of the seal is to be kept by the registered agent.
- audit: these may be required if the annual receipts are at least 6.000.000 $ and companies that function in a designated area in the country with an income of no less than 250,000 USD; our agents may provide more details.
- Certificate of good standing: this is mandatory for all companies.
- stamp duty requirements: there are none unless the company owns property in Belize (other shares in another IBC are not considered owned property).
It is important to note the condition for establishing and maintaining a physical presence in Belize for those companies that are involved in trading in securities, forex trading, brokerage, and other activities. These are those that are licensed by the International Financial Services Commission.
Obtaining a tax-exempt certificate is required for companies in order to benefit from the lack of taxes when they do not have a physical presence in Belize. Our specialists in Belize company registration can provide more details and assist investors who need to obtain this certificate. Companies that have already been incorporated remain tax-exempt for a certain period. companies that have been incorporated after October 2017 and require a tax-exempt certificate will need to bring forward proof that they qualify for this. The evidence includes proof that they are not physically present in Belize as well as provide other relevant details about its activities. Investors can rely on the assistance provided by our agents should they need to solve the issue of obtaining a tax-exempt certificate.
Entrepreneurs who wish to know more about the facts presented herein can reach out to our agents. We can provide complete assistance during the incorporation process.
Belize is a recognized offshore center, with a fast company registration procedure and high investor confidentiality. This last trait is an important one for many investors because it allows them to incorporate a company without having to disclose their identity. There is no mandatory record of the beneficial owners, company directors and shareholders and investors can choose to appoint a nominee director and/or shareholder. The identity of the registered agent will be made public, however, this is a service that can be provided upon request and it is also offered by our team of experts. The only documents that are recorded in a public record are the Articles of Association and the Memorandum. However, these documents are not drafted to contain the identification details of the directors and shareholders. Investors are advised that, although they can rely on the high confidentiality of the business regime in Belize, they should refrain from adopting a complete secrecy policy for their company. The business should always comply with the legal disclosure requirements.
Belize has a number of double tax treaties in force with countries like Austria, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and others. Banks share financial information to the United States based on the FATCA procedure and Belize has also signed a number of Tax Information Exchange Agreements with countries like Belgium or the United Kingdom as well as France, Ireland, the Netherlands, or Australia, among others. These treaties allow for the disclosure of information when an individual who is a resident of another signatory state is believed to hold assets in Belize, however, such disclosure is not made simply on grounds of suspicion. Only specific required information is disclosed. A Belize IBC is allowed to apply for a court decision in those cases that involve confiscation, expropriation, or similar actions by foreign government authorities. One of our agents specialized in Belize company formation can provide additional details about the manner in which interest or shares held in a Belize company may be subject to control or dispute. Investors can rest assured that the jurisdiction has sound provisions against confiscation.
The following statistics reflect the value of the foreign direct investment percentage of the GDP for Belize. The data was provided by the World Bank:
- 2018: 6.21% of the GDP;
- 2017: 1.38% of the GDP;
- 2016: 1.81% of the GDP;
- 2012: 12.42% of the GDP, one of the highest rates during the last ten years (2008-2018).
Belize has many advantages for entrepreneurs, from the lack of taxes to the very fast incorporation process. If you are interested in quickly opening a business here, reach out to our agents to arrange the transmission of the initial electronic documents needed for incorporation.
You can contact our Belize company registration experts for more information on the incorporation of an IBC and further details on company management and control.