If you’re a foreign investor and want to open a corporate bank account in Belize, then you’re in luck because the process is relatively straight forward. Some major banks in the tiny Central American country offer customers the option to open a corporate bank account online or over the phone.
There are a number of business advantages to opening a bank account in Belize – including tax exemptions – thanks to the country’s banking confidentiality laws. Foreign nationals should know which kind of bank account best fits their needs, as they are broken up into two categories: A Class and B Class.
Table of Contents
As an investment market, what are the biggest advantages that Belize has to offer to investors in general, and especially to investors in the US?
The ongoing expansion of multiple investment opportunities is key to Central America, particularly Belize. There is no doubt English being readily spoken in many nations, particularly in Belize, makes it much easier for investors in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia to conduct business. The lack of a language barrier is sometimes the main factor that attracts people to our area rather than looking elsewhere.
It’s far from just the convenience of being able to make business deals without the need for an interpreter. The physical proximity of Belize and the rest of Central America to the United States means investors can visit with greater ease. The ability to see the construction you’ve invested in up close and personal means a great deal. The same is true for being able to tour farms or check out the resort hotel that’s the result of investing efforts can also be rewarding.
Stable economies, in general, tend to attract investors. Belize certainly has that to offer, along with other nations within Central America. Given how Belize has weathered a worldwide pandemic in comparison to some other parts of the world, it’s no wonder that people look here for the ideal investment opportunities.
What are the biggest investment trends in Central America, specifically in Belize?
There’s no doubt that real estate, commercial and residential opportunities, is one of the most prominent investments throughout the region. Growth in popular tourism locations means the need for adjacent resorts and hotels. It also means commercial enterprises for shopping and dining. Increased labor for the development also means more demand for residential properties.
Energy and agriculture are historically lucrative investments in Belize and other parts of Central America. This is not projected to change over the next several decades. Actually, the development of alternative energy has never been more robust. In terms of agriculture, trade agreements with other parts of the world are likely to keep the demand for production in Central America high for a long time.
What are the biggest business and investment opportunities in Central America, or more specifically in Belize?
The tourist trade continues to be a significant player in the economies of Belize and several other nations in Central America. While well established, the ongoing expansion means opportunities to enter into different land development projects. It also means an increased potential to establish companies that provide goods and services to people vacationing anywhere in the region.
Belize is well-suited for those seeking to identify and secure investments throughout Central America and the Caribbean. Banking regulations that provide security to investors, coupled with services and support offered by financial institutions, make adding an international component to a portfolio less of a risk while increasing the odds for higher returns.
Infrastructure is also an excellent investment in Belize and other Central American countries. A lot is happening, from communication options such as enhanced internet speeds to improved roadways. Investment in these areas of improvement is likely to lead to significant returns.
If I want to open a corporate bank account in Belize, which class of bank account is right for me?
- A-Class – An unrestricted license that requires the account holder to establish, maintain and operate a business in Belize. This account can be part of a larger franchise or as an independent company. Regarding opening a corporate bank account in Belize, this type of account makes the most sense for those who plan to domicile in the country.
- B-Class – A restricted-license account with similar requirements and applications as the A-Class license, but limited to specific offshore banking activities as stated in the license. B Class bank accounts are tailor-made for companies that wish to take advantage of Belize’s favorable tax laws and a culture of privacy and confidentiality in the banking sector.
What documents do I need to open a corporate bank account in Belize?
In order to open a corporate account in Belize, foreign investors will need to present the following documents:
- A notarized copy of your passport
- Filled-out and signed application form
- Proof of address or residency
- Copy of a utility bill
- 2 references
- A notarized certificate of incorporation
- Certificate of share holders
- A notarized memorandum of association
- A letter of undertaking
For those who wish to open a corporate bank account in Belize, it’s important to remember that the above is a general list of what banks may ask of new accountholders. Some banks may require additional documentation, such as social security numbers (or the equivalent in your home country) company licenses, driver’s licenses, etc.
What advantages does opening a corporate bank account in Belize have over other offshore jurisdictions?
- Tax-free or low-tax structure in place
- A streamlined business registration process
- Foreign investors can purchase real estate and own property
- Privacy protection in banking and company membership
- No need to domicile if you want to store offshore assets in the country
1. Tax-free or low-tax structure in place
The tax regime is ideal for foreign investors who want to store assets and make international financial transactions from this offshore destination. Firms that open a corporate bank account in Belize are exempt from paying any taxes on financial transactions. There’s also no capital gains tax on earnings.
2. A streamlined business incorporation process
While business regulators in Belize are thorough, they don’t tend to put up obstacles to registering a business in the country, and unlike the rest of Latin America, they are not in love with bureaucracy. Once you open a corporate bank account in Belize, full incorporation of a business can be completed in two weeks.
3. Foreigners can purchase real estate and own property
Aside from the absence of taxes on capital gains and international business transactions, foreign investors can also enjoy tax-free property purchases. For those who open bank accounts in Belize, there are no estate taxes. What’s more, there are no restrictions against foreigners owning real estate or land in the country.
4. Privacy protection in banking and company membership
Unlike other offshore jurisdictions that are subject to high levels of scrutiny, Belize has stringent laws protecting personal and business privacy. For example, board members and business partners are not required to disclose their identity if they are unwilling to do so. Specifically for those who open corporate bank accounts in Belize, higher scrutiny is given to business funds that authorities suspect are from the proceeds of crime.
5. No need to domicile if you want to store offshore assets in the country
As mentioned above, the country is an attractive destination for international businesses that wish to keep much of their financial assets abroad in order to avoid funds being taxed in their home countries. Firms that open corporate bank accounts in Belize for offshore banking activity are not required to open a physical office inside the country. But it isn’t totally free – the annual banking license fees for offshore companies is $15,000 USD, with at least $1 million USD kept in the account.
Biz Latin Hub can help you with doing business in Belize
At Biz Latin Hub, we provide integrated market entry and back-office services throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, with offices in Bogota and Cartagena, as well as over a dozen other major cities in the region. We also have trusted partners in many other markets.
Our unrivalled reach means we are ideally placed to support multi-jurisdiction market entries and cross border operations.
As well as knowledge about opening a corporate bank account in Belize, our portfolio of services includes hiring & PEO accounting & taxation, company formation, bank account opening, and corporate legal services.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can assist you finding top talent or otherwise doing business in Latin America and the Caribbean.
If this article about opening a corporate bank account in Belize was of interest to you, check out the rest of our coverage of the region. Or read about our team and expert authors.
The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.