Why and how to set up a Belize offshore company
UPDATE October 2019: This article has been refreshed with updated links and editorial inputs. A Belize IBC remains a powerful, highly convenient vehicle for companies looking to incorporate in the country as an offshore entity.
Belize is a Central American country known for its prevalent English speaking ability, and robust offshore environment. Belize is very well accustomed to setting up offshore companies and trusts, and with Flag Theory, you are in good hands to set up a business there.
- Fast Incorporation: Belize has a very quick incorporation process; in fact, it’s probably the fastest International Business Company (IBC) Registry in the world and your offshore IBC can be set up in a few hours.
- No Tax in Belize: Under Article 130 of the Belize IBC Act, Belize IBCs pay NO TAX in Belize, with only a few simple pre-conditions – including that no business is done IN Belize.
- No Reporting Requirements: Belize IBC and LLCs do not face any reporting requirements for local government.
- Legal: A Belize IBC is for all legal purposes a separate legal person, which has the same commercial rights and powers as a natural person. It can take on debts, start a bank account, hold assets, etc.
- Private: Belize will not disclose its banking or fiscal information. Client confidentiality is an important asset in Belize’s corporate and business legislation. They have a history of non-compliance, placing their client’s interests first.
- Secure: When considering the privacy of information exchange with foreign governments (including the US), Belize is probably the leader in a confidential offshore jurisdiction.
- Convenient: Belize has English as its official language, and is a common law country.
- LLCs: Belize LLCs were recently passed into law. LLCs are similar to IBCs except that they have membership interest, rather than shareholder stock.
Move forward and incorporate an Offshore Belize Company.
Key advantages include:
- Completely private incorporation. Your Belize IBC or Belize LLC is anonymous and private.
- Strong Legal protection, located outside your home jurisdiction
- Perfect for protecting liquid assets like cash, or securities, bonds or other investments
- Great for business owners who run their business offshore
- Ideal for Internet businesses or Internet entrepreneurs
- Best solution for protecting your higher risk assets and liabilities
- Perfect for high-risk merchant accounts and credit card processing
- Allows you to purchase investments not available to US citizens
- Complete transparency in every process that involves your Belize Company
- Asset protection with the most modern planning and research
- One whole year of consultation by professionals who are experts in their fields
- One year of service of a registered office
- Preparation, filing and execution of the ‘Memorandum of Association’ that will put your company in good standing with the Belize government
- Strong and protective operating agreement prepared by asset protection experts
How to set up a Belize offshore company
Step 1) Application form
We will submit proper documents with the preferred Company name.
Corporation documents may be in any language. The company name shall include the word(s):
Limited, Corporation, Incorporated, an equivalent, or an abbreviation thereof.
Additionally, details of the beneficial directors and shareholders must be included, such as nationality, country of residence, address, and profession. Other details, such as a professional recommendation or reference are also required.
Step 2) Due Diligence Documents
The following must be prepared for each and every beneficial director and shareholder:
- (1) Scanned and notarized copy of the passport or country issued ID card, notarized or certified copy by a lawyer, notary public, or banker
- An original proof of residence showing the name and address of the individual is required. This is usually a utility bill, telephone bill, or credit card bill, which is dated within the last three months.
- An original letter of introduction is required. This letter can be from a bank, lawyer, accountant or similar profession. Preferably a lawyer or an accountant or similar personal reference setting out the duration of your relationship (must be good, but not required to be least 2 years) and that in the case of a bank reference, you have operated your account satisfactorily, and that you are otherwise of good character and reputation.
Step 3) Belize LLC or IBC formation
We handle the rest, and mail the corporate kit to you. At this point, you can form a bank account using either our network, or your own banking connection.
If you have any questions, contact us at any time, or keep reading for more information on Belize incorporation and banking options.
Some of the most popular questions we receive about Belize are answered below, including questions about banking in the country.
What do I need to set up a Belize bank account?
You need company documents which are provided to you after the incorporation process. They will be automatically forwarded to the bank on your behalf.
You’ll also need an original, Completed Due Diligence Questionnaire, Certified Passport Copy of all Directors, Once you decide to choose your bank, we will provide you with the documents that need to be filled out.
Open a Belize offshore bank account filling this form.
Is my registration of the company private?
Yes, there is no way that another person or government can search for your entity.
Is there any tax on my company?
Not in Belize – when operating as an IBC, you are exempt from any taxes.
Is there any way someone could fake a passport and withdraw funds?
Absolutely not. Your passport must be notarized, and your identity confirmed by a licensed and bonded lawyer.
What if there is a nominee director – can they go to the bank and say “I’m an owner of this company?”
No. For many reasons.
- The director is not an owner of a company; the shareholders own a company. A nominee director does not need to be given ANY power, and will NOT be granted any power unless specifically authorized by the shareholders.
- All the signatures of the shareholders are needed to open a bank account.
- No funds can be added or taken out without the consent of ALL shareholders, or in other words, the signatory on the account.
- Unless you are a signatory on the account (which the nominee director cannot be) then you cannot access the account, and the bank will not even talk to you.
- In essence, you need the signature of ALL of the shareholders to alter the account, or to create the power for one person to alter the account.
How can I withdraw funds?
You can withdraw funds from a bank account by using a company debit card, or you can wire transfer funds to another account.
Is there a limit to how much I can withdraw at any time?
Only at the individual ATM. You could always visit another ATM later and make another withdrawal.
Can my funds be frozen or seized by my government?
No. Banks in Belize operate under Belize authority. Belize company law has specific provisions to ignore any proceedings in any court outside of Belize.
More Info on Belize, and Belize LLC Formation
Belize continues to impress as its authorities seek to improve the governance of their offshore jurisdiction. They aren’t a tiny island – they are a country in central America facing the Atlantic ocean.
Their regulatory body – the International Financial Services Commission of Belize – is fairly responsive. They get filings done in less than 24 hours. Belize also offers an LLC – a hybrid legal entity that combines a corporation and a partnership. They can be considered progressive, as evidenced by the recent adoption of the LLC business entity.
They are also intelligent – using statutes from both Nevis LLC Act of 2005 and the Cook Islands LLC Act of 2008. This is fairly commonplace for International financial centers – to simply adopt and modify the existing laws in established jurisdiction; particularly interesting is when they copy the acts verbatim, and forget to take out the typos.
Here is a copy of the guidance from the Belize government on the Belize IBC. An Overview of Int’l Belize Limited Liability Companies
Belize already has a legal entity – the IBC. So what’s the reason for offering an LLC?
It will act as an ideal tax planning and asset protection tool and would be a useful addition to Belize’s offshore industry infrastructure.
More than anything, it’s to compete with other jurisdictions such as Nevis and the Cook Islands, which offer LLCs. In reality, there isn’t much of a difference. However, LLCs have member ownership and are controlled by manager(s).
IBCs have shareholder ownership, and a director(s)
A minor distinction. Either can be used for a variety of different purposes, and both are very flexible asset protection and wealth management planning tools.
The Act provides a broad foundation to structure an LLC according to its own rules, rather than being dictated by statute. The operating agreement may contain any provision for the conduct of business that is not contrary to law and relates to the business of the company and the conduct of its affairs.
What this means is that Belize LLCs are dictated by the operating agreement, first and foremost. This is a key feature of the law that makes any legal entity much stronger. Essentially, this provides for even stronger asset protection, because you can include strong and protective legal language. For instance, you could prevent the LLC from making distributions to creditors in the event of a charging order.
Now let’s talk about lawsuits. Asset protection is obviously a major benefit of incorporating offshore, or in a jurisdiction that is more difficult or expensive for creditors to reach. The reason being, if its harder to sue, more expensive, and farther away, the creditor may be deterred for even filing the lawsuit.
The Act contains certain special asset protection features. Like most LLC jurisdictions, a creditor of a member is permitted to apply for a charging order against a member’s interest. To the extent so charged, the judgment creditor shall only have the rights of an assignee of the member’s interest and shall have no right to partake in the management of the company. The Act further provides that the charging order remedy shall be the sole and exclusive remedy available to a judgment creditor or other creditor of a member.
Belize also stipulates in this new company act that it will only recognize processes and judgements delivered in a court in Belize. Meaning, whatever happens back home, your assets are safe in your Belize holding company.
The Act provides that only the judgments delivered by a court in Belize shall be enforceable against an LLC or any manager or member thereof.
Belize LLC / IBC Advantages
- Your filing can be done in less than 24 hours.
- Your name can be kept off all gov registers if requested.
- Banking in Belize is easy – an account can be opened with a very small amount. Also, it’s not necessary for you to show up in person. Finally, banks in Belize offer merchant accounts and credit card processing. Open a Belize offshore bank account by filling this form.
- Belize is the only English Speaking country in the Americas south of the United States.
Low government fees
- The ongoing government fees for a Belize LLC or IBC are relatively low.
No annual requirements
- It’s very easy to maintain a Belize LLC or IBC, and you don’t have to visit the country for shareholders’ meetings, have audits on the accounts or maintain a company secretary.
Asset Protection and Privacy Measures
- Nominees, Bearer shares, and combinations with trusts are all available.
- For certain activities, such as insurance, banking, reinsurance, trust formation, etc., licensing is required.
Set up a Belize IBC or LLC today
You can set up a Belize Offshore Company with us here at Flag Theory, whether you choose the LLC or IBC option. Start the process by acquiring The Belize Complete Incorporation Package.
You might also consider other options such as a Hong Kong Company, a Wyoming Company, a Singapore Company or BVI Company Formation.
To compare jurisdictions for incorporating a company or opening a bank account, you can also try out some of our free tools: incorporations.io / bankaccounts.io. If you need personalized advice to find out which is the best jurisdiction to set up a company according to your particular circumstances, we can help you with your decision: contact us or check our consulting services.