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Belize Offshore Jurisdiction

The International Business Company Legislation was enacted in Belize in the early 1990's, together with a range of other offshore enabling laws. That led to growth of interest in Belize as a low-tax jurisdiction. More than 3 000 IBC's were registered in Belize from 1990 to 1997, under the Companies Act of 1990 which is based on modern corporate legislation giving extended privileges and absolute confidentiality. The Belize IBC Act is worked out based on the best features of legislation adopted in other jurisdictions offering offshore incorporation. Belize offshore legislation includes also such Acts as the Registration of Merchant Ships Act in 1989, the International Business Companies Act in 1990, Trusts Act in 1992 and Offshore Banking Act in 1996.

The development of offshore industry sector has continued, and by March 2000 the total number of offshore companies reached 14 000.

Now offshore jurisdiction ratings issued by Swiss company Guaranty Trust Ltd and compiled by many criteria including banking secrecy, legal system, communications and tax regime, put Belize at the top of its list.

Belize offshore companies are registered by probably the fastest offshore company registry in the world. Belize offshore company formation normally takes only few hours.

In Belize, internal taxation is moderate. The domestic companies are subject to a tax rate of 35%. A turnover-based tax is small, corporation tax is 25%. The income tax and social contributions make up to 45%. IBC companies are not liable to any taxes, except for annual franchise tax. There are many offshore schemes available in Belize, that include IBC legislation, trusts law, and an array of free zones and investment incentive schemes. The international pressure to make Belize moderate its offshore legislation in exchange for debt relief has weakened in 2003.