10 things you need to know about a Belize offshore company


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An International Business Company (IBC) is arguably one of the most effective corporations and is a tool used by individuals and corporations around the world to plan their taxes and manage assets. These kinds of companies have the same basic structure, but will have fundamental differences from one to the next, a situation we can attribute to jurisdiction. IBCs are understood as the core drivers of the offshore service platform around the world.

Said companies are legally mandated to carry out any international transactions as long as they do it by the book. They have certain privileges too, and one of them includes being allowed not to pay taxes within the country of operation. In addition to that, such an institution is not required to disclose the names and contacts of its owners or the intricate details of its operations.

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What is a Belize IBC?

A Belize IBC is a corporation formed pursuant to the stipulations of the Belize International Business Companies Act of 1990. Experts in legal matters consider this as one of the most instructive piece of legislation covering the operations of offshore businesses across the world. This is because it understands the intricacies of a particular jurisdiction (Belize in this case) and provides a friendly leeway for users, regardless of the nature of activities they are involved in (as long as they are legal).

In the year 2000, the act governing Belize IBCs was expanded to make the business environment even friendlier to corporations in a move that broke down barriers and created extensive avenues of investment for the offshore enthusiast. Today, the laws of Belize allow a swift incorporation process and the country boasts a comprehensive, computerized IBC registry that makes it a lot easier for investors to get down to work as soon after starting the registration process as possible.

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Is a registered office required for Belize IBC?
Yes, in fact, it is mandatory. However, having a registered presence does not mean that the officials of the company must be physically present at all times occupying offices and running day to day operations. A registered office needs to be followed up by a registered agent for operations to run smoothly.

Most of the time, registration services are provided by agents ,with many of these currently available online. The level of physical presence for a company in Belize is determined by the kind of business involved as well as the preferences of the owners. For example, some IBCs will ask for mailing and telephone services in order to acquire a mortar and brick feel.

Are there and trading restrictions using a Belize IBC?
Normally, a Belize IBC is given free rein over the sort of trading activities it conducts. However, since it is essentially an investment vehicle for foreigners, the owners are expressly forbidden from trading with Belizeans both at the individual and corporation levels. In fact, the law strongly hints that most activities should be carried out within the scope of international borders. However, there is one exemption-such a company can trade with another within Belize as long as the second company is also international and has no affiliation with the locals.

International trade

What tax rate does a Belize IBC have to pay?
With a Belize IBCs all local taxes are waived by default, according to the legislation of 1990 and the amendments of 2000. The classes of taxes for which exemption applies include stamp duty, capital gains tax as well as dividend and income taxes. The owners of said companies are also exempted from paying taxes upon the transfer of all types of assets, whether corporate or financial. This is why places such as Belize are known as tax havens.

Are yearly financial statements required?
Since there are no taxes expected by the authorities, Belize IBCs are not obligated to file tax returns or any financial statements at the end of each fiscal year. In addition to that, they are protected from the traditional practice of companies declaring their wealth or making fiscal records public, even under special dispensation. However, a company can prepare said documents for the purposes of internal review, bench-marking and generally as a tool for looking at the various ways in which future improvements can be made.

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What is the minimum amount of directors required?
The typical Belize IBC can have a minimum of one director. The director in this case can be a foreign citizen or a local, depending on the needs and preferences of owners. A director can also either be an individual or a corporation.

The first batch of directors in these institutions are appointed by the subscribers to company MOU (Memorandum of Understanding). When it comes to removing a director or a group of directors, the owners fall back on the MOU, allowing the members or remaining directors to act within their power. However, such moves are subject to further, stringent restrictions of the memorandum.

Is a company secretary required?
No, and this is so because the Belize IBC act chose to scrape all bureaucratic hurdles in place back in the day. Another reason is that since this is a virtual company, there is no need to put up a structured brick and mortar front at any time.

How many shareholders are required?
The company must have a minimum of one shareholder. However, there is no set maximum, which is a move to ensure inclusion for all people across the world as long as they are not local citizens.

What classes of shares are permitted?
Companies are allowed to issue both bearer and registered shares. These are further broken down into a wide range of special assignations, becoming voting or nonvoting shares, shares that call for voting under specific occurrences, shares with one or more votes for each, common shares, redeemable and irredeemable shares, shares that can only come up for voting if held by certain members, no par value shares, shares that target specific assets and preferred shares.

What are the authorized and issued share capital of a Belize IBC?
The structure is highly flexible here, and there are no set limits on the value of the share capital - only that the annual government license fee will rise in accordance with a surge in overall capital values.

Contact us if you need assistance setting up a Belize International Business Company (IBC)


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