The Belize offshore sector was created in 1990 with the enactment of the International Business Companies Act, Chapter 270 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011. It followed suite from the ripple effect that led to many Caribbean countries tapping into the revenue flows from the worldwide offshore sector. With the offshore industry rapidly evolving in the developmental era resulting from the boosted confidence of individuals interested in the offshore services, the high demands for international financial services had to be an avenue for increased economic benefits for Belize. With Belize’s track record for strong, safe and anonymous international financial services backed by its International Business Companies Act, the Trusts Act was passed into law on 23rd April 1992 to allow investors another well-known option for their investments. These laws were followed by the Offshore Banking Act,1996 which facilitates persons to carry on offshore banking business from within Belize upon having met the criteria for licensing. This service is supervised and regulated by the Central Bank of Belize. Belize gained a reputation for economically sound and politically stable country ideal as an offshore financial center.
The election of a new Government in Belize in 1998 provided fresh impetus to the development of the offshore services sector. A spate of six offshore industry measures were added to the statute book in 1999 and the International Business Companies Act was amended.
- The International Financial Services Commission Act which seeks to promote, protect and enhance Belize as an international financial services center and to regulate the provision of international financial services;
- The International Insurance Act which provides for the regulation of persons establishing and carrying on international insurance business;
- The protected Cell Companies Act which allows for the incorporation of protected cell companies or the conversion of an existing company to a protected cell company;
- The Mutual Funds Act which provides for the regulation, authorization and control of mutual funds and their managers and administrators;
- The Limited Liability Partnerships Act which permits the creation of limited liability partnerships;
- The Retired Persons (Incentives) Act which offers certain tax exemptions and incentives to qualified retired persons;
- The International Business Companies (Amendment) Act which provides for the establishment of limited life companies.
In 2007, the scope of the International Financial Services was broadened to include the services that we continue to offer to date.
Another major milestone of the offshore sector is the erosion of secrecy and anonymity laws through best practices and recommendations which international standard setters have adopted to address what is considered harmful tax practices. Belize have made transformations to automatic exchange of financial information based on a global Common Reporting Standard as well as the Exchange of Information on Request. These moves were significant steps to fight against tax evasion and fraud.
Belize has taken a modern move to adopting a more inclusive and flexible approach to balancing the international financial services with competing forces to ensure a well-regulated and sound international financial services sector.
Therefore, this section sets out all laws applicable to the subject of the international financial services sector. Although reasonable care is taken to ensure that these documents are up to date with relevant amendments, they are only provided for ease of reference. The IFSC does not guarantee their completeness and accuracy and shall not be liable for any consequences of actions/decisions taken based on the above information.