Why Invest in Belize Belize is truly one of “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secrets” and today its doors are open to all who dream of building a new future. With a stable political and economic climate under democratic rule, Belize is truly a land of opportunity for the international investor. Unlike any other country in Central and South America, Belize is part of the British Commonwealth and therefore English is the official languag. As a result, navigating the purchase process, negotiating contracts and simply communicating clearly becomes a much more efficient and comforting experience. Belize is a thriving offshore center with some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world and an abundance of affordable and desirable real estate. In addition, property values in Belize have been steadily increasing for the past 25 years.
Ownership Rights Belize has very strong private property ownership rights and foreign buyers are able to purchase real estate in Belize unrestricted, meaning they have the same rights to own freehold property title as Belizeans. The Government has established a host of financial incentives and strongly encourages foreign investment.
Favorable Tax Climate A key consideration when considering investing in Belize is the country’s tax climate. Belize has long been regarded as one of the T-7 Tax Havens and it is for this very reason that it is such an attractive option for investors. With much of the US in an economic downturn, many investors are looking to internationalize their finances and their portfolios for both tax and asset protection reasons. Belize offers a legitimate and simple solution to achieving both of those financial planning goals.
Banking with Privacy Protection Belize has five commercial banks that serve local residents, three of which are based in Belize, Alliance Bank, Belize Bank and Atlantic Bank. First Caribbean Bank (formerly Barclays) and Scotia Bank, large multinational institutions, operate branches in Belize as well. Also serving the financial needs of Belize residents and citizens are small local banks, credit unions and small mortgage lending institutions. Along with these banking options, Belize offers a growing selection of offshore banks.
Authorized by the Banks and Financial Institutions Act of 1995 and the Off-Shore Banking Act of 1996, these banks are legally prohibited from servicing citizen or legal residents of Belize. They do, however, provide an attractive banking option for ex-patriots seeking privacy and protection.
Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) The Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) is a key governmental incentive that should be incorporated in all financial and investment strategies in Belize. Qualification is easy and relatively inexpensive.
Taxes and IBC´s Foreign earned income is exempt from personal and business taxes and income can also be earned tax-free while residing in Belize simply by implementing a Belizean International Business Company (IBC). Pension income is also exempt from income tax, making Belize financially attractive in many ways for expatriates.
LOCATION Belize, previously British Honduras, lies on the East coast of Central America and in the heart of the Caribbean Basin. It is bordered by Mexico to the North, Guatemala to the West and South, and the Caribbean Sea to the East. Geographically Belize is located between 15° 52′ 9″ and 18° 29′ 55″ North Latitude, and 87° 28″ and 89° 13′ 67″ West Longitude with an area of 8,866 sq. miles including 266 sq. miles of islands.
The cayes or islands, the offshore atolls, and the barrier reef are the main attractions to Belize. The barrier reef, which is the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, is 185 miles long. The cayes and atolls provide great opportunity for SCUBA diving, snorkeling, fishing, boating, sailing, and kayaking, and also serve as a habitat for both nesting birds and turtles. In the central part of Belize the land is higher. It is between 1,500 and 3,680 feet above sea level in the Mountain Pine Ridge Area and the Maya Mountains. Breathtaking waterfalls, historic Mayan cities and majestic mountains are but a few of the attractions that can be enjoyed in this area.
CLIMATE The climate is subtropical, with a brisk prevailing wind from the Caribbean Sea. The country has an annual mean temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity is nicely tempered by the Sea breezes. The variation in weather further emphasizes the interesting difference in elevation, geology, plant and animal life. Summer high temperatures, are normally around 98 degrees Fahrenheit, and winter lows have rarely gone below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, even at night.
RAINFALL Normally, the rainy season is usually between June and November and the dry season is between February and May. Usually, the weather becomes cooler at the end of October and this lasts up until February. Average humidity is 85 percent. Annual rainfall ranges from 50 inches in the North to 170 inches in the South.
PEOPLE The population of approximately 250,000 people consists of a mixture of Creoles, Garifunas, Mestizos, Mayas, Caucasians, Mennonites, Lebanese, Chinese, and East Indians. Belize has gained a widespread reputation for its friendly people.
LANGUAGE English is the official language of Belize, Spanish is the second language and Creole is the commonly used dialect you will hear spoken throughout the country.
CURRENCY The Belize Dollar (BZ$) has a fixed rate of exchange of BZ$2 to US$1. Most hotels, resorts, restaurants, and tour operators will accept U.S. currency, traveler’s checks, or credit cards. US Dollar is widely accepted as well.
TIME Time observed year round is GMT-6, which is the same as United States Central Standard Time. Daylight Savings Time is not observed in Belize.