Which Belize Company Is Right For You?
Belize is a small English speaking nation in Central America and well known as an offshore financial centre. Belize authorizes the registration of both local and offshore companies also known as International Business Companies. Different from the Belize offshore company, local Belize companies are known as onshore companies. Under Belize’s reputable offshore legislation, all offshore companies registered in Belize are companies of which the financial gains, the services and products traded originate outside of Belize’s jurisdiction. Onshore companies or local companies are companies established in Belize and by law are permitted to carry out business with local residents for the realization of gains or profits. The incorporation of both types of companies is done very efficiently and in a timely manner.
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Local companies registered in Belize are allowed to own land in the country and local companies can purchase lands for reasons other than setting up their business. There is one exception: companies registered as Associations whose gains are not for profit can own no more than two acres of land. On the other hand, Belize offshore companies can only lease property for use as an office space. Local companies can employ both residents and foreigners to work or lend professional services to the business but offshore companies can only maintain professional links with those persons who will directly help with the offshore business in Belize, professionals in the business of legal affairs, accounting, and financial advising.
When registering a Belize offshore or local company, the applicant or the agent for the applicant (in the general case for offshore) must submit the Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association to the Registrar of Companies. Whilst the names of the rightful owners of offshore companies are not public record and are only known to the agent or offshore service provider, the names of the owners of local companies are filed and are public record.
To incorporate an offshore company in Belize the client must use the services of an offshore service provider or an agent who must be registered in order to carry out such services. There is no need for an agent when registering a local company in Belize.
Local companies in Belize are governed by the Companies Act and according to this piece of legislation local companies must hold an annual general meeting. Failure to call an annual general meeting at least fifteen months after the last meeting can result in fines for the business officers. Offshore companies are not obligated by law to hold meetings and if they choose to do so, the owners can keep meetings in any part of the world and at any time they so desire. Local companies are obligated to keep financial records and books and these records must be kept at the address of the registered office and should be made available for inspection. Offshore companies are not obligated to keep record or books at a registered office. Such financial records can be kept at any location the owners deem fit.
International Business Companies according the act which regulates its activities, the International Business Companies Act, are exempted from all taxes in Belize. On the other hand local companies in Belize are obligated to pay business taxes and personal income taxes. Both the local company and the offshore company must have a registered Belize office address. The offshore company can use the offshore service provider to supply the registered local address as an ancillary service.
There are many structural similarities between local and offshore companies. The minimum number of shareholders for both types of companies is the same in that both offshore and onshore companies in Belize need a minimum of one shareholder.
The main impacting differences between local and offshore companies in Belize lie in the taxation policies, and the ability of the company to conduct business within jurisdiction of incorporation.