So you already know that you’re interested in international banking. You’re in the process of looking for an offshore bank, and one of your main concerns is private banking. In Belize – a country whose government prioritizes its reputation as a tax haven – account secrecy is tightly regulated and strictly enforced.
While any offshore bank will emphasize confidentiality, Belize enjoys an excellent reputation on this front, and is a worthy contender for your consideration. Here are the basics of privacy regulations in Belize.
Who Can Access My Information?
The information that your bank collects about you will be protected by powerful secrecy laws– both civil and penal. There are very severe penalties for anyone who breaks bank confidentiality, and there are no exchange controls, as well as no reporting requirements for the banks. There are no taxes – personal or corporate– so the courts are not concerned with tax matters.
There are certain circumstances where the Belize government can ask the banks to give over your information, but they are highly specific.
When Can the Government Take My Information?
If the government has reason to suspect criminal activity and an investigation is underway, the bank will, naturally, be asked to comply. However, this can only be done if the investigation is being conducted by Belize authorities; investigations from other countries don’t hold that jurisdiction.
If another country issues a subpoena, they will have to go through the government first. A court must issue an order to the banks, and they typically want to see a criminal case on file. However, it’s abnormal for the courts to allow a privacy breach for anything but a very serious accusation.
Belize International Business Companies
If you’re looking into international banking because you’re interested in incorporation, you’ll find similar confidentiality restrictions. Public information on a Belize International Business Company (IBC) is extremely limited. IBC privacy is as important to banks as an individual’s privacy. The only one who knows the company owners, directors, and shareholders is a Registered Agent; the Agent is also the only one outside the company who has access to any internal records. The Registered Agent, like the banks, is bound by harshly penalized confidentiality laws. Furthermore, an IBC can trade freely and privately, since Belize has no restrictions on international trade.
Private banking in Belize is secure and reputable, so if confidentiality is what you’re looking for, Belize is an excellent option.