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Executive Summary
Belize is a country of Central America that was formerly called British Honduras. The country covers a total area of 22,966 sq km, and has the lowest population density of the region. Belmopan is the capital of Belize. It is the only country of Central America, where English is the official language, however, Spanish and Kriol are recognized regional languages. Belize is a multicultural country, which considers itself to belong traditionally to Central America and Caribbean region.

Belize is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The UK monarch is represented locally by an appointed Governor-General. The state economy is mainly based on small private enterprises engaged in agricultural and merchandising activities. In the last years tourism, constructions and provision of financial services have developed significantly. The biggest part of the employees works in the banana industry; sugar and chief crop are major export categories of Belize. Electricity supply is the most expensive in the region. The US, Mexico, the UK, as well as countries of Central America and the EU are main trading partners of Belize.

The Belize Dollar (BZD) is the national currency of the country.

Geography
The landscape of Belize is diversified and picturesque: it has a big number of lagoons and a low range of the Maya Mountains. Two main rivers, the Hondo and the Sarstoon, determine country’s Northern and Southern boundaries. The highest point of Belize rises at 1,124 metres above the sea level. The country has a beautiful coral reef, which is the longest after the Great Barrier Reef.

The country has a tropical climate, the weather may vary in different parts of the country, depending on the altitude and distance from the coast. The temperature remains almost constant during the year, averaging at +25 degrees C. There is a dry and a wet period, although humidity and rainfall amounts differ significantly in different territories within Belize. The country is vulnerable to strong and devastating hurricanes.

Belize has a potential to develop a hydroelectric power, as well as use solar and biomass energy. There are different types of minerals in the country; the flora and fauna in Belize is rich and diversified.

Map, Flag and Coat of Arm


Types of Company


It is possible to incorporate the following types of company in Belize: sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited partnerships, private limited companies, LLCs, joint ventures and cooperatives, as well as public investment companies. However, the most popular types of companies chosen by foreign investors are international business company and trust, which are analyzed below.

International Business Company
Private persons, corporate entities and trusts may become shareholders of this type of company. A minimum capital may be expressed in a foreign currency. Bearer shares and shares of no par value may be issued. At least one director, a private person or a corporate entity, must be appointed. a company secretary is not an obligatory requirement. A company must have a registered agent and a registered office in Belize at all times, and it is the only information available on a company in public registers. There are no auditing and accounts filing requirements. The company is exempt from taxes. An international business company may be redomiciled to and from Belize.

This company, however, has the following restrictions: it may not carry a business activity with residents of Belize, it may not own a property in Belize, it is not allowed to conduct banking, insurance and corporate service provider’s activities.

Trust
Trusts are mainly used for asset protection purposes. A trust registration is not an obligatory requirement. Different types of trusts may be established. A maximum duration of a trust, different from a charity trust, is set to 120 years. A trust often establishes an International Business Company which is used as an asset-holding entity, and introduces a higher level of confidentiality and protection.

Taxation

Personal
Residents of Belize are liable to pay income tax on their worldwide income, while non-residents pay income tax in Belize solely on income derived from activities conducted on the territory of the jurisdiction. Income tax has a progressive nature. First USD 20,000 are tax free. In case annual income exceeds this amount, income tax is levied at rates 25%-45%, depending on the total annual income. There are no capital gains, gifts or inheritance tax in Belize. Social security contributions are payable.

Corporate
A standard rate of a corporation tax is 25%. Withholding tax is levied at a rate of 25% on non-resident entities’ relevant activities. A business tax is levied at different rates on trade, professionals, banks, groups of companies, real estate agents commissions, casinos and certain types of vehicles.

Stamp duty and goods and services tax (10%) are levied on different types of transactions, goods and services. Every imported product is applied with   environmental tax, certain goods such as medical and food products are exempted from this tax.
 
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