The beauty of Belize is amazing. The quality of life experienced by those that live here, unmatched. But many live and invest in Belize real estate for the tax benefits.
If you don’t already know, Belize is an English-speaking country full of some of the friendliest people on earth. This peaceful country has a British-style, democratic, government that is historically very stable. The currency is locked in at a constant exchange rate with the US dollar at 2 BZD to 1 USD. Property rights allow foreigners to own real property just like it’s citizens and these rights are protected through the traditions of British Common Law.
Belize is a Tax & Privacy Banking Haven
Belize is a T-7 tax haven and offers true private banking and secure international business structures. Belize banks are required to maintain banking privacy or face severe punishment. Additionally, when most of the world’s banks have reserves of cash down around 2%, Belize banks consistently maintain high reserves of 24%. If the government discovers a bank operating below it’s required liquidity rate, they can seize and close it down. Interest rates are higher and you will earn more on your bank balance than you are used to back home in the US or Canada. Banks also require much more money down when purchasing real estate in Belize. This ensures that their interests remain well protected in the event a property goes into receivership. There has never been a bank failure in Belize.
Property taxes in Belize are a fraction of what they are in United States and Canada.
Depending upon how you earn your money in Belize income taxes can be much lower. Rental income, for example, is only taxed at 1.75% of gross receipts and personal income tax rates can be as low as 15%. Resident individuals earning less than $10,400.00 per year are fully exempt and non-residents are liable for taxes only on income earned in Belize. You will not pay any capital gains tax in Belize when you sell real estate, nor will your heirs be liable for any inheritance taxes when you die. Property taxes are extremely low when compared to North American rates and vary depending upon the type of property owned. Generally speaking you can count on your property taxes being 1-1.5% of the assessed value. Discounts are often given to those that pay before the April 1st deadline. Finally, Belize has no Tax Information Exchange Agreements with the U.S. or Canada.
Asset Protection Trusts in Belize
In 1992, The Belize Trust Act was established. In brief, it allows you to establish an offshore asset protection trust in Belize to shield your assets from those that might want to take them from you. The Belize Trust Act provides that the Court shall not recognize any claims against any trust settled under Belize law. As of the writing of this article, no trust has ever been broken in Belize.
Qualified Retirement Program in Belize
Qualified Retirement Program: The Qualified Retirement Program or QRP was designed by the Belize Government to attract retirees. To qualify you must be at least 45 years of age and have a verifiable income in USD of $2,000 per month. Dependents up to the age of 23 are included as long as they are college students as well your spouse. Benefits include the ability to import personal effects like approved transportation and personal effects free from import duties and taxes. Additionally, a Qualified Retired Person in Belize is exempt from all income taxes from sources outside of the country.
Belize Real Estate values are trending upwards and have a well established pattern of year over year appreciation. Long term and short-term rental rates on Ambergris Caye continue to rise as well as nightly rentals. Many who have invested in the Belizean real estate market have been well rewarded and all indicators point to continued growth and opportunity for future investors. Belize is ripe with opportunity. Whether you are buying a rental property, a second home, land banking, or just retiring on Ambergris Caye, the opportunity is here to preserve and grow your wealth. Add to that, a lower cost of living, close proximity to the US and Canada, an amazing tropical climate, and a slower more relaxed pace of life and you can see why foreign investment in Belize continues to rise.