Belize Offshore Foundations
Belize offshore foundations are a corporate alternative to Belize offshore trusts.
The Belize International Foundation Act of 2010 enables a person(s) or corporation(s) to form an offshore foundation in a number of ways: charitable, non-charitable, ordinary, or non-purpose. The foundation can benefit the founder, beneficiaries, or both.
The assets held within the Belize offshore foundation can be real, tangible or intangible. The foundation is a separate legal entity that can sue or be sued. It can engage in business, trade, buy and sell property, enter into contracts, open bank accounts and hold assets in the foundation’s own name.
A foundation must be made up of a founder, protector, beneficiary and council members. The founder is the individual or group who establishes the foundation and transfers their property (real, tangible, or intangible) into the entity. The protector is responsible for supervising the foundation and ensuring that the founder’s requirements are met. The beneficiaries directly benefit from the formation of the foundation, while the council members are responsible for implementing, managing and administering the foundation’s activity in compliance with the International Foundation Act.
Once a Belize foundation is established and has become a legal entity, it is subsequently not owned by anybody. Foundations can be established for a variety of reasons, but predominantly for commercial, charitable or individual usage.
Structure, Requirements, and Advantages of a Belize Offshore Foundation
Legal formation: The formation of an offshore foundation in Belize is regulated by the International Foundation Act 2010. Under the law, a foundation may be established for any period or for an indefinite period. A Foundation Charter is the official document of the Belize offshore foundation that must be drawn up to include detailed information relating to the powers, form of resolutions and the signing authority of the foundation. Re-domiciliation of a foreign foundation into Belize is accepted.
Founder: The founder is the individual or group who sets up the foundation and transfers their property into it. A Belize offshore foundation may have more than one founder. A founder may also act as a beneficiary of the foundation that he establishes. The founder is not required to be resident of Belize or a registered agent.
Beneficiaries: The beneficiary of a foundation is the person who is entitled to benefit from the formation of the structure. The Foundation Charter will specify how the beneficiary or beneficiaries will benefit from the foundation formation. The beneficiaries are not required by law to be resident of Belize.
Protector: The International Foundation Act recognizes the possibility of having a protector as part of the Belize foundation formation. The protector is required to ensure that management of the foundation is in complete compliance with the terms and conditions specified in the Foundation Charter.
Foundation Council: The foundation council members are those who manage and administer the foundation in compliance with the founder’s wishes. The council members are vested with the powers and obligations set forth in the Foundation Charter. At least one member of the foundation council must be a resident of Belize or a registered agent at all times.
Taxation: A Belize international foundation is not subject to any income tax, business tax, withholding tax, asset 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. A Belize offshore foundation is also exempt from stamp duty.
Audit and financial returns: A foundation is required to keep financial records, which should reflect the financial position of the Belize offshore company or corporation. The administrator of the offshore foundation shall keep all records, and submit all returns and documents.
Registered office and local agent: The registered office of a foundation shall be at the address of the registered agent. Every foundation shall have a secretary, who must be a regulated person, residing in Belize.
Time needed for formation: The usual time required is up to 7 working days for the legalization of the documents and delivery by courier.
When forming a Belize offshore foundation, ideally you should seek:
- Tax-exempt or tax-free jurisdiction, including from local income taxes and capital gains taxes
- Strong privacy protection
- Solid legal legislation and standing
- Access to foreign investment opportunities not available in your home country
- Easy communication with those helping you establishing the trust
- Inexpensive setup and maintenance costs
In other words, you should seek somewhere that you trust. Belize is becoming one of the most popular destinations for offshore foundations, because our country has all the advantages and none of the drawbacks featured elsewhere.