Belize Foundation Overview

 

The Belize Foundation Act, passed in 2010, is one of Belize's most recent pieces of offshore legislation. The principles of the Belize offshore foundations are similar to that of private interest foundations legislations. Under this Act, a person(s) or a corporation(s) can form a charitable, non-charitable, ordinary or non-purpose offshore foundation.

 

Key Elements of a Belize Foundation

 

Type of Foundation

International Foundation

Taxation

Exempt from taxation

Initial Patrimony

No minimum initial patrimony. Legislation silent on the issue. Standard initial patrimony: US$ 100.

Assets

Separate legal entity from the assets of the founder. The Foundation may in its name sue or be sued, plead or be impleaded in all courts of law.
Assets held by a foundation can be real, tangible or intangible;
Assets within a foundation are protected from insolvency or bankruptcy, seizure, claimed or sold
Minimum value of USD$10,000

Name of Foundation

The name of a foundation shall end with the word “Foundation” or its abbreviation, “Found.” or “Fdn”, or its equivalent in any language using Roman script, and must not be the same or similar to the name of a foundation previously existing in Belize so as to be misleading as to the identity or activities of a foundation.

Council members

A foundation should have one member but subject to specific limitations shall not cease to be valid by reason that the foundation council has no members or that there are fewer than the number of members required by the terms of the foundation charter or by this Act. At least one member of an international foundation shall be a resident of Belize at all times

Resident Address/Agent

At least one member of the foundation council of a foundation, not being a foreign foundation, shall at all times be a resident of Belize or a registered agent.

Domicile

Can be located in Belize or a foreign Foundation can apply to be domiciled to Belize.

Audit

Not required

 

Compliance

 

Legal Nature/Purpose/Type of Law

 

The International Foundations Act 2010 provides for the formation of international foundations. The Act is expected to enhance the attractiveness of Belize as an international financial center through the introduction of a civil law concept into the traditionally common-law system.

 

Incorporation Procedure

 

A foundation shall be established upon proper execution of a foundation charter or equivalent document governed by the laws of Belize by a founder and by the members of a foundation council, by which a founder makes a disposition of rights, title or interest in property to the foundation for a specific purpose, and upon registration with the Registrar.

 

Purpose

 

The Belize International Foundation may seek charitable and non-charitable purposes as long as those purposes are capable of fulfillment and are not unlawful, immoral or contrary to public policy.

 

Beneficiaries

 

Unless the foundation charter or the by-laws provide otherwise, the foundation council may appoint additional beneficiaries, may exclude a beneficiary from benefit, or may impose upon a beneficiary a specific condition precedent to the distribution of the foundation endowment to the beneficiary. Neither the founder nor the beneficiaries of an international foundation shall be residents of Belize.

 

Tax Status

 

An international foundation shall not be subject to any income tax, business tax, withholding tax, asset tax, gift tax, profits tax, capital gains tax, distributions tax, inheritance tax, estate duty or any other like tax based upon or measured by assets or income originating outside of Belize or in connection with matters of administration that may occur in Belize.

 

Optional Accountancy and Auditing, Annual Return

 

The Foundation must keep such accounts and records as its foundation council considers necessary or desirable in order to reflect the financial position of the Foundation.

 

Tax Treaties

 

Belize has entered into numerous tax and information exchange agreements and several double tax agreements.

 

Disclosures Optional Accountancy and Auditing, Annual Return

 

A foundation shall keep an internal register of the foundation council, its members and protector at its registered office which shall be open to inspection by the founder, any member of the council, any beneficiary or the Court. The Secretary of the foundation or, if there is no Secretary, its registered agent, shall keep or cause to be kept a register in which shall be recorded the identification particulars of the members, protector and beneficiaries and auditors, where applicable, and any persons having power of attorney granted by the foundation. Neither the founder nor the beneficiaries of an international foundation shall be residents of Belize. Neither the Register nor the files or records of the Registrar shall be open for inspection by any person other than a founder, foundation council, protector or beneficiary of an international foundation.

 

Please contact us if you need more information on Belize Foundation and related services.