A Belize Offshore company is a company formed for conducting business internationally, hence, the name Belize International Business Company, or Belize IBC, for short. Belize offshore companies provide a mechanism for conducting international trade whereby goods can be purchased from one country and then sold to another, while the profits made remain in the name of the company in an environment that is free of tax.
People who are involved in holding companies, share ownership and investment projects may also be particularly interested in setting up a Belize offshore company since it serves as an effective instrument for managing investment funds, holding stocks, bonds and brokerage accounts. Other activities in which a Belize offshore company are free to undertake include shipping, property and real estate ownership, treasury management, consultancy and professional services, as well as intellectual property with respect to matters concerning patents, copyright and royalties. One of the first steps in registering a Belize offshore company involves confirming with the Companies Registry the availability of the company name that is proposed by its owners. Should the name be available, meaning that is not yet being used as the name of another company that has already been registered, the new IBC will be incorporated accordingly. However, in the event that the company name may appear to be very similar to that of another already existing company, then the owners of the IBC that is about to be formed may be asked to select a new name so as to avoid any legal conflicts in regards to the infringement of trademarks. A Belize offshore company is required have a registered office and agent in Belize. Registered office and agent services are provided by offshore service providers who are licensed and based in Belize.
All offshore companies must be formed through agent who may be a local or international entity which is or uses the services of a Belize licensed offshore service provider. The Belize offshore legislation guarantees the confidentiality of the business affairs and personal information of the owners of Belize offshore companies and the Registry is a closed one, meaning that no information regarding any IBC is disclosed to the public. A Belize offshore company can be formed with a single Director and Shareholder, who may be the same person, or, two or more people who agree to act either both as shareholders and directors of the company, or, only assume the sole responsibility of shareholder or director.
For incorporation purposes, identification documents such as photocopied passports or national identity cards (those issued to EU citizens) are required for each director and shareholder of the company. On the other hand, ownership and shares of the Belize IBC’s may be controlled by another company or legal entity. Should this be the case, the person(s) incorporating the Belize offshore company will be required to send in copies of the legal entity’s charter documents and Register of Directors and Shareholders as proof of the said company’s legal existence.
The standard start-up capital of a Belize IBC is US $10,000 and does not necessarily have to be paid up at the time of forming the company; it may be done at a later date. Shares may be issued at par or not at par, as voting or non-voting, common, preferred limited, redeemable, or as registered or bearer shares. The Belize IBC Act allows for amendments to be made in regards to the removal or addition of Directors and Shareholders in the company, including name changes. There are, however, some restrictions on a Belize IBC. For example, and IBC are prohibited from conducting business with people who reside in Belize, owning interest in real property located in Belize other than a lease, conduct collective investment schemes, trust services, serve as a bank insurance or reinsurance company, insurance agent or insurance broker without having received the necessary license to be able to conduct such businesses. Offshore companies that choose to operate out of Belize, may maintain a bank account with a locally registered bank, build professional relations with barristers, bookkeepers, solicitors, investment advisers and accountants within Belize, prepare and maintain its books and records in Belize and hold the meetings of directors and other members in Belize, and leases a property from where business operations will be conducted. Many people tend to form Belize offshore companies in order to allow their own private companies to accumulate wealth, since, very often, the effective growth of a company may be impeded as a result of the exorbitant and excess inheritance, wealth, capital gains and gift taxes that are imposed in their respective countries and burden the revenue or profits being made.
Belize offshore companies are free from such taxes and, as a result, are an instrument for saving on such expenditure, hence allowing profits to accumulate. In fact, savings can be made on inheritance taxes by simply transferring one’s most valuable assets such as jewelry or property to the name of the Belize offshore company, through which assets are easily transferred to one’s spouse and children. And, this is only one of the ways in which an example of how a Belize IBC can be used for effective tax planning.