New Amendments to the International Business Companies Act

New amendments have been made to the International Business Companies Act, Chapter 270 of the Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011. The features, advantages of and restrictions on an International Business Company (IBC) have been substantially modified as of January 1, 2019. The table below summarizes critical elements in the existing vs. the new IBC Regime.

Residency and property ownershipRestricted – not to include land, shares, debt obligations and other assets in BelizeNot RestrictedNot Restricted
Shareholding OwnershipRestricted to non-residents of BelizeNot RestrictedNot Restricted
Subject to Income and/or Business TaxNOYESSubject to tax if income/receipts sourced from Belize, otherwise not subject to tax
Filing requirementNOFile annual tax return, pay monthly Business tax.File annual tax return if income/receipts sourced from Belize. Otherwise, optional to file annual tax return.
Dividends (paid or received)Tax exemptTax exemptTax exempt
Interest (paid or received) on bondsTax exemptTax exemptTax exempt
Standard currencyUSDUSD with operational activities conducted in Belize subject to BZDUSD
Exchange control permitNOYESNO
Stamp dutyNoNo, unless IBC owns property in Belize other than shares in another IBCNo, unless IBC owns property in Belize other than shares in another IBC
Physical presenceNot requiredMandatory for licensees of the International Financial Services Commission (IFSC)Optional for Others not having an IFSC license
Accounting RecordsYESYESYES
Audit requirementsNoMay be required by the Commissioner of Income Tax if annual receipts are at least US$6mnMay be required by the Commissioner of Income Tax if annual receipts are at least US$6mn
Tax resident in BelizeNOYESNO
Certificate of Good Standing (CGS) requires tax complianceNOYESYES

1. Grandfathering provisions:
  1. IP asset owners in existence at 30th June 2018, need to apply to the IFSC for determination on its status whether it can continue to exist under the prior regime. Once the status is determined, income may be subject to tax under the new regime;
  2. Requirement in (a) expires 30th June 2021 if allowed by the IFSC;
  3. Existing IBCs under an activity licensed by the IFSC, prior IBC regime expires 30th June, 2021 after which they are subject to tax.
  4. IBC incorporated on or before 16th October 2017 (provided there are not IP assets acquired from a related party), continue to benefit under the prior IBC regime up to 30th June 2021 only on the core income generating activities; all other income must be subject to taxes under the new regime.
  5. IBC incorporated on or after 17th October 2017, are captured under the new IBCAmendments and are subject to tax.
2. Transition Period
  1. A transition period of at least 12 months will be approved, prior to the full enforcement of some of the new requirements, such as tax compliance, audit requirements and physical presence requirements.
For further information, please feel free to contact Anju Gidwani, Director of the Belize Office at / +501 223 1037

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