Globally, there is a significant amount of interest in investing within Belize. Belize is certainly a desirable tropical place to visit, but what draws investors to this Central American country in the Commonwealth realm?
There are far too many to cover in this one article, but let’s explore just 13 of the top reasons people choose to invest in Belize.
1. English-Speaking Nation
While there are many investment opportunities throughout Central and South America, one common obstacle is the language barrier. Unless investors speak Spanish or Portuguese, they could struggle to communicate with bankers, government officials, and legal advisors in the area. Belize, however, is an exception.
Thanks to its connection to Britain, English is the national language in Belize. Virtually all its residents speak English, making local investment much simpler.
2. Low Operating and Overhead Costs
Many of the operating costs in Belize are lower than those found in North America or in Western Europe. Therefore, banks have lower overhead costs as do new startups and other businesses.
With labor cheaper in Belize than elsewhere, there is more potential for profit. Plus, maintenance costs for things like real estate investments or commercial rentals can also be lower. All of this combines to keep your costs much lower in Belize.
3. Higher Purchasing Power
Belize is a popular destination for retirement. In addition to the wonderful weather and beautiful scenery, Belize is a retiree’s dream because of the low cost of living.
With your purchasing power being higher in Belize, it makes each dollar you have stretch a little further. That’s ideal both for local residents and investors who want to put their profits right back into their businesses.
4. Non-Citizens Can Own Property
There are many destinations around the world where non-residents simply cannot legally own property outright. In the Philippines, for example, property must be held in the name of a citizen. If you wanted to invest in property in a country with these types of laws, then you would have to be comfortable placing it in someone else’s name.
Most investors, of course, want to seek out nations where investments can be done independently. Belize is one such nation that allows foreign residents and non-citizens to own property outright.
5. Politically Stable Democracy
There are plenty of investment opportunities around the world that appear too good to be true. Look a little closer, and many of these opportunities are located in nations with plenty of volatility. Political instability, war, or economic uncertainty can drive prices down for investors, but the risk skyrockets.
In Belize, there is an element of stability thanks to the democratic political system. Since 1981, after achieving independence from the United Kingdom, Belize has since demonstrated the ability to have fair elections and peaceful transfers of power.
6. Linked and Locked Exchange Rates with United States
Until 1981, the local currency in Belize was linked to the British pound. Since then, the Belizean currency has been pegged to the United States dollar. The ratio is 2:1, and it won’t change. This fixed and locked exchange rate can be helpful for investors who are concerned about fluctuating currency values elsewhere in the world.
As long as the connection between the two currencies remains the same, investors will have an easy time converting US dollars to Belizean dollars and vice versa.
7. Incentives and Programs for Retirees
It is entirely possible to invest in Belize from afar. In fact, plenty of investors never step foot in Belize. However, the appeal of Belize also means that some investors want to vacation or even retire in the Central American nation.
Fortunately, Belize offers a range of incentives and programs for retirees. The Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) is available to any foreigner over the age of 45 who plans to spend more than 30 consecutive days in Belize within one calendar year.
8. Encouragement of Trade
Belize is home to what are known as EPZs, or Export Processing Zones. These are, as the name might imply, zones where free trade is specifically encouraged.
Investors who choose to establish businesses within these export processing zones may be eligible for benefits like a 20-year tax holiday, dividend tax exemption in perpetuity, exemptions from import and export duties, and even a reduction in sales tax.
9. Low Property Taxes
There are many investors in Belize who plan to operate on a smaller scale. It is common for people to purchase a single vacation home or condo in Belize, or to occupy properties half of the year and rent them out the rest of the year.
Low property taxes in Belize allows investors to get more bang for their buck. On average, property tax in Belize is anywhere from one to one and a half percent annually. Compare that to New Jersey, where the rate is closer to 2.4 percent.1
10. Legal System Based on British Common Law
In 1862, Belize officially became a British Crown Colony. Although Belize achieved independence over a century later, it kept the key principles of the British legal system. Both the legal system and the rule of law (common) are influenced by Britain, just as they are for countries like Canada and the United States.
For foreign investors, this means it is easy to understand the legalese of investing in Belize. If you’re already familiar with the basic tenets of the legal system in the U.S.A, then Belize will be very similar.
11. No Capital Gains Tax
Residents who live and work in Belize, and who are citizens, are charged a 25 percent income tax. However, there is absolutely no capital gains tax. Capital gains tax is the tax levied on the profits from the sale of a business or a piece of property.
For international investors, avoiding capital gains tax is akin to winning the lottery. It allows you to pocket more of your profits without seeing the erosion of taxation impacting your earnings.
12. Government-Mandated Liquidity Rates for Banks
The Central Bank of Belize oversees all of the banking regulations in the country. Every bank, whether it serves domestic residents or international investors, is required to have a set rate of liquidity.
Currently in Belize, that minimum rate of liquidity is 24 percent which is at least four times the reserve requirements of those in the United States for their local banks. Although there is a set rate some banks in Belize go above and beyond, far surpassing that legal minimum for financial liquidity.
13. Appealing Destination and Proximity to the United States
It has already been mentioned previously that investors don’t need to physically be in Belize in order to take advantage of its investment opportunities. However, those who do need to be there in person will appreciate how close its proximity is to North America.
Belize is just a short direct plane ride from many of the main cities located in the United States and Canada. Plus, there is so much more to love about visiting Belize. From the country’s warm temperatures to beautiful beaches, it is certainly an attractive place to invest in for business, pleasure, or a combination of both.
Clearly, there are many convincing reasons to invest in Belize. Contact Caye International Bank headquartered on the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye in Belize, to learn more about offshore banking and diversifying your investments.