With a beautiful natural landscape, thriving tourism and vacation rental markets and an undersaturated business market, Belize is a prime investment destination.
The country’s English common law legal system and government policies are friendly to foreign investment. Foreign ownership and control of businesses is permitted under the Exchange Control Act and related regulations.
Belize offers many tax advantages for those who live here. Residents pay a small amount of income tax, while corporations benefit from a very favorable corporate regime. In addition, there is no capital gains tax in Belize—a significant financial perk for people who are looking to move away from the stifling cost of living found in many first-world countries.
Belize also allows its residents to deduct a portion of their international travel expenses from their personal income tax. Lastly, residents do not pay estate or inheritance taxes in Belize.
It’s easy to feel at home in Belize, where almost all locals speak English and virtually everyone welcomes expats with open arms. The country is safe, secure, and a perfect place to retire or set up an offshore business. Plus, it’s just a two-hour flight from Dallas or Miami—making family visits a breeze. This kind of flexibility gives Belize a competitive edge over its Caribbean rivals.
In addition to the fact that Belize is one of the safest countries in the world, there are many tax benefits for foreigners who invest here. The country doesn’t tax income that is sourced outside of the country, and it also has a few unique laws that allow individuals to protect their assets with trusts or foundations.
Belize law is based on British Common Law, similar to that of the United States and Canada. This means that real estate investors enjoy the same property rights as citizens of the country, including the ability to own land, even beachfront properties. In addition, Belize has no capital gains taxes.
Individuals can also establish an international business corporation (IBC) and pay no income taxes. They can also import household goods and personal belongings for a year with no duties, and they can open bank accounts without any restrictions. This is a major incentive for investors who are looking to avoid high-tax regimes in their home countries.
When it comes to income taxes, Belize is one of the top places in the world to live. The country’s laws and the fact that it signed a number of international treaties to avoid internal double taxation have made it a highly sought-after destination for investors and bank accounts.
Property taxes in Belize are very low, ranging from 1% to 1.5% for land outside cities. Real estate taxes are based on land value rather than developed value, to encourage development.
Investors can also benefit from Belize’s tax-free income by incorporating a company in the country. Under the Belize International Business Corporation Act, companies operating in the country are exempt from income taxes on dividends, capital gains, and transactions completed.
As a bonus, foreigners who have permanent residency can bring all of their household items into Belize duty-free on a one-time basis. This allows them to enjoy their beautiful new home without having to worry about shipping and customs fees.
Tax-Free Cash Flow
Investors benefit from the fact that Belize does not impose visa, residency or work permit requirements. However, there are concerns that Government policies, processes and laws can distort or discriminate against foreign investors. Private companies also have reported problems with the quality of land titles, a lack of clear contracting rules and procedures for public procurement, and anecdotal evidence that corruption can be a significant barrier to FDI in Belize.
Tax rates in Belize are relatively low. For individuals, income taxes are 3% (not counting QRP), and there is no capital gains tax. Foreign citizens are exempt from income tax if they spend more than 183 days in Belize per calendar year.
Belizean law and common law preserve the right of individuals to establish private property and engage in remunerative activities. However, foreign investors must register their investments and adhere to exchange control regulations. Foreign entities have access to credit, although this is limited in terms of domestic market capacity.