How to Start a “250” Business in Belize

You may be thinking about starting a business overseas, and starting an onshore business in Belize definitely has its perks. The nation has a growing economy and the tourism industry is beginning to blossom significantly.

Businesses of all kinds are being brought to the country every day due to tourism. Property prices are affordable, which means there is an increasing number of international property owners who spend their time and money in Belize.

Also, onshore companies are eligible for some tax benefits and duty-free exemptions when importing materials overseas. Unlike International Business Companies (IBCs), local companies can carry on business in Belize, and residents of Belize are allowed to own shares. Lastly, business owners can qualify for residency within months of establishing their local business.

If you are looking to start a local business like a restaurant, boutique, or hotel in Belize, Chapter 250 will guide you through the process of becoming what is known as a “250” company. Chapter 250 is the law that specifies what you need to start an onshore limited liability company with the Belize Companies & Corporate Affairs Registry. The legislation clearly lays out what is needed for you to get started.

The government is going to take various factors into consideration before approving your business, including the level of investment made and if you plan to keep your profits and capital within a local bank account in Belize. They are also interested in the development of new technology in the region, the potential for new employment opportunities for Belize residents, the industry the business focuses on, and the final destination of any products or services offered.

There are clear benefits to registering your company. Registered companies are limited liability, meaning capital suppliers are not going to lose more than the amount of their investment. The shares are transferable. The company also has legal standing as a “person” and may sue, make contract, and hold property in a common name. Also, the corporation’s life can surpass the participation of any of its incorporators.

What You Will Need

A letter of application to the Central Bank addressed to the Director of the Research Department, which contains the following information:

  1. Name of business
  2. Nature of business
  3. Name and foreign address of non-resident subscriber(s)
  4. If a foreign entity is the subscriber, then the name/ownership structure and address should be stated of the Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO)
  5. Share capital
  6. Amount of shares being purchased or transferred
  7. Price of each share
  8. Approximate value of investments

The following must be attached to the letter of application:

  1. Copy/draft of Memorandum & Articles of Incorporation
  2. Certified true copy/notarized passport of UBOs
  3. Certified true copy/notarized copy of formation documents
  4. Copy of the Resolution of the Board of Directors
  5. Copy of the Certificate of Incorporation reflecting that the foreign entity is registered in Belize as a 250 company

How Much it Will Cost

Here is a breakdown of the costs:

 

Stamp duty $ 24.00
Compliance certificate $500.00
Recording/filing fee $ 10.00
Registration of share capital /members $ 50.00
Total $584.00

For more information, reference the Belize Companies Act, Chapter 250 (http://www.belizelaw.org/web/lawadmin/PDF%20files/cap250.pdf).