Theoffshoreguidebook.com offers offshore banking with online offshore bank accounts. We offer off shore banking (off-shore checking accounts, offshore private accounts, offshore corporate accounts and offshore business accounts) in Belize. A lot of confusion also arises from the terms different offshore corporate services agents (offshore corporate providers or offshore service providers) use on their web site such as; offshore formation (offshore formations), offshore incorporation (offshore incorporations, offshore incorporating), offshore registration (offshore registrations), offshore company formation, offshore company incorporation, offshore company registration, offshore corporation formation, offshore corporation registration, offshore corporation incorporation, etc,. These are all just different ways to describe the same process, i.e. to set-up an offshore company. We offer inexpensive offshore packages in different offshore havens and provide optional off-shore services including offshore banking accounts opening services.
The Offshore Guide DISCLAIMER: Please note that we are not tax or legal experts, this document provides you with one opinion about the potential and uses of incorporating offshore. Consult a competent tax accountant and legal counsel if you feel you need additional information. We do not promote tax evasion in any way. As always it is your responsibility to ensure the information we provide in this report is accurate although we have tried our best to provide accurate information , we do not guarantee it. This report is a compilation of a number of great articles and reports available on the net but put together for your use. 1 Table of Contents Page: Chapter One: Why Incorporate Offshore? 8 1.a) Important First Steps of Offshore Incorporation 9 1.a.1) Hire an offshore consultant or firm 9 1.a.2) Choose a country or jurisdiction where you would like to set up shop offshore 10 1.a.3) Put together a solid business plan of action 10 1.a.4) Incorporate offshore 11 1.a.5) Attain as much as possible from offshore incorporation 11 Chapter Two: Offshore Incorporation Used in Order to Assure Protection of Assets 13 2.a) Liability protection allows you to spread the risk 13 2.b) Tax havens: Another fundamental component of offshore planning 14 2.b.1) Tax haven classification one: No taxes 16 2.b.2) Tax haven classification two: Taxes on local income only 16 2.b.3) Tax haven classification three: Benefits of a country's tax treaty along with low taxation 16 2.b.4) Tax haven classification four: Tax privileges 17 2.b.5) Tax haven classification five: Preferred tax treatment of individuals 17 2.b.6) Tax haven classification six: Preferred tax treatment for businesses 17 2 Table of Contents – Page Two Page: 2.c) Knowledge of a country's tax law is an important component of offshore planning however the offshore planning process is so much more 18 Chapter Three: Offshore Investment Strategy 20 3.a) Offshore investment activities are widely accepted nowadays 21 3.b) Practical vehicles of offshore investment activities 22 Chapter Four: Explanation of Tax Free and Minimal Tax Offshore Jurisdictions 24 4.a) Lowering tax rates or reducing liability amongst international jurisdictions is not a new idea 25 4.b) Monetary and exchange control 27 4.c) Advantages of tax havens: Four primary areas exist 27 4.c.1) One methodology used in escaping taxation is relocating to nil or low tax venues 28 4.c.2) A second methodology employed in order to avoid paying tax is referred to as holding of assets or more appropriately termed asset holding 28 4.c.3) A third methodology pertinent to tax havens involves conducting business within known financial servicing centers wherein the business does not require a specific physical presence within the geographical location (to do so) 29 4.c.4) A fourth methodology with respect to tax havens involves financial third parties or intermediaries 30 Chapter Five: Making a Corporate Home in Belize 32 Chapter Six: Panama—A Very Popular Venue for Offshore Incorporation 34 3 Table of Contents – Page Three Page: 6.a) Panama's foreign investor principle or policy places financial control with the foreign investor 34 Chapter Seven: The British Virgin Islands Presents the Foreign Investor with Another Highly Popular Offshore Incorporation Option 36 7.a) Asset protection is guaranteed 36 7.b) The foreign investor is exempt from taxation 36 7.c) It is believed by many economists and foreign investors The BVI offers the ultimate in financial privacy 37 7.d) Besides the privacy feature(s) the BVI provides other attractive benefits relative to offshore incorporation for the foreign investor 38 Chapter Eight: The Benefits of Offshore Incorporation within Seychelles 39 8.a) Features of Seychelles' Offshore Incorporation 39 8.b) Restrictions with regard to the Seychelles' international business company 40 8.c) Control of currency: The Seychelles' IBC may use the currency of its choosing (preference) 40 Chapter Nine: Revisiting Offshore Incorporation in Belize 41 9.a) One reason to select Belize as an out-of-country financial center : it is an English speaking country 41 9.b) A brief Belize history and geography lesson as well as other general information 42 9.b.1) Belize: One British Honduras 42 9.b.2) Geographical location 42 4 Table of Contents – Page Four Page: 9.b.3) Belize independence 42 9.b.4) Population and size of land mass 43 9.b.5) Exports 43 9.b.6) Media 43 9.b.7) Physiographic areas 43 9.b.8) Climate 44 9.c) Economic Factors – Average cost of living (in the country) 44 9.c.1) Income 44 9.c.2) Real property costs 44 9.c.3) Grocery prices 45 9.c.4) Utilities 45 9.d) Language 46 Chapter Ten: Belize is Located Nearby Should the Norther American Investor Need to Visit 48 10.a) Precise geographical location of the Central American Nation 48 10.b) Belize is the only English speaking country within Central America 48 10.c) Terrain of Belize 49 5 Table of Contents – Page Five Page: Chapter Eleven: Review of an IBC incorporated within Belize 50 Chapter Twelve: How to Properly Set Up an Offshore Account in Belize 51 Chapter Thirteen: Understanding BOPA—Also Known as the Belize Offshore Practitioners Association 54 Chapter Fourteen: Why you Should Choose Belize for your Offshore Banking and Jurisdiction 57 Chapter Fifteen: A Review of What is Entailed in Belize Incorporation 59 15.a) International Business Company 59 15.a.1) Incorporation time 59 15.b) Trading restrictions 59 15. c) International Business Company powers within Belize 60 15. d) Requirement of registered office of IBC (International Business Company 60 15.e) Outside authorities are not made aware of (beneficial) ownership 60 15.f) Shelf Companies 60 15.g) Issuance and authorization of capital shares 60 15.g.1) Classifications as to shares available 61 15.h) Licensing fees with respect to incorporation inside Belize 61 6 Table of Contents – Page Six Page: 15.i) No requirement as to the filing of audited financial statements 61 15.j) Freedom from taxation inside of Belize 61 15.k) No double tax treaties have been signed by the country 62 Our offer, what our package includes 63 What you will need to provide to establish an IBC 64 What is required to open a bank account 65 7 Chapter One: Why Incorporate Offshore? There are many factors why it makes sense to incorporate offshore; however, the two primary factors which exist include confidentiality and privacy. Additionally, many jurisdictions located offshore have no disclosure requirements as it pertains to stockholders; or directors within your organization. Another beneficial factor is many of these offshore jurisdictions permit bearer shares; and you are not required to register trusts. A good majority of jurisdictions located offshore have placed into law ―guarantees of non-disclosure‖ of a company's information. This means disclosure in the way of the company's originators, and stockholders is not allowed to interested third parties. Consider the fact, as competition grows strong within your industry of interest, it is in your own best interest to limit information to other companies relative to your organization's overall financial picture. The preceding may be the best success strategy you can possess in growing and maintaining your business. Also, it may be advisable to shield the identity of the true ownership pertinent to your organization. You generally cannot be assured nondisclosure as to financial position or ownership is truly guaranteed in the majority of Western European nations; however, you can get around the fact by structuring your company using a not-for-profit model. The following said, for persons whose net worth is on the high-end, it is advisable the owner maintain property and assets within a (personal) holding company set offshore. In the following format, the owner is assured privacy and can save substantially on legal costs. Also, it permits such a person to avoid unwanted media exposure. The company ownership can safely be placed within a trust. It is not necessary, further, for persons setting up their company's incorporation abroad to conduct 8 director's or shareholders meetings where the actual offshore incorporation took place. It is also not essential for such an organization to conduct meetings of a general nature where company resolutions are passed. The officials of offshore jurisdictions are more interested that original non-domestic companies pay in a timely fashion all fees and conduct their business in a manner that is ethical and above-board. The following conveyed, know that each country differs as far as incorporating within that particular country's jurisdiction. There are not any similarities between companies as to corporation law, tax regulations, and licensing requirements. Additionally, an organization's name registration is different from nation to nation. However that said, there is a succession of ways a company may be pointed on the best possible course pertinent to its specific offshore incorporation needs. Another possible use of an Offshore IBC is to use a vehicle to hold and trade investments and foreign currency trading (FOREX) recent changes no prevent US citizens from hedging FOREX trades which has adversely affected the methods and systems a number of traders have prospered under. Important First Steps of Offshore Incorporation Hire an Offshore Incorporation Consultant or Firm Since privacy is the single most important consideration when incorporating offshore, it is vital you begin the process by finding a good, reliable consultant; or company who specializes in offshore incorporation. The idea behind hiring a dependable consultant is two-fold. The reliable consultancy organization is set up to handle the political climate and legal stipulations of the offshore jurisdiction selected. This means the offshore consultant is well-skilled in filing your company's paperwork; assuring the appropriate fees are paid; opening an offshore bank account; and in other areas that may present entanglements for the average company or entrepreneur. The following administrative details are all carried out by the consultant in a way which proves totally free of complication for you and your business organization. 9 Further, in setting up an offshore corporation there are areas where pre-approval for your company must be granted; or other specific, related organizations wherein the consultant organization needs to consult. You are far better off having a well reputed offshore expert on your side who already has the connections; and know-how in place to simplify offshore incorporation. The offshore consultant can attain governmental approvals more readily and carry out offshore incorporation in a timely manner. Again, in this light, there is no burden or headache presented for your company's legal staff or yourself in implementing the offshore incorporation process. In conclusion of the forgoing: A reliable offshore consultant will make offshore incorporation a seamless process for your organization; and also provide recommendation how to strategically operate your business in the best possible manner as it pertains to the overseas (business) formation. Choose a country or jurisdiction where you would like to set up shop offshore A company which chooses an offshore jurisdiction may be doing so in order to effect a good business strategy in the way of tax savings; and in the way of asset protection. Also, setting up or incorporating overseas allows the business owner to (again) maintain fiscal privacy. The country selected is important from the standpoint it must not be perceived as some haven wherein you can evade paying taxes; or where less than legitimate activities take place. The offshore consultant is fundamentally well-aware which jurisdictions are best for businesses wanting to use offshore incorporation as a means of keeping the affairs of their company more discreet. In example, an offshore company located in an area such as Hong Kong presents an investor welcome venues with an environment that is stable both politically and economically. Additionally, as you read further, you will find there are many other regions of the world that are good choices for offshore incorporation with particular economic and political advantages as far as business investment. (The following said, there is one venue which will be “touched upon” later that allows for the best strategic advantage overall as far as offshore incorporation for the majority of United States' businesses.) Put together a solid business plan of action 10 In order to get the ball rolling, an offshore business consultant will sit down with you and discuss the particular needs of your organization. After this is performed, then the consultant is trained to guide you as to what offshore jurisdictions make the best possible sense as it pertains to your particular business setup. In so doing, you agree, between the two of you, upon a venue that is appropriate; a corporate business model that seems to make the most sense; and (subsequently) put together a business outline or plan relative to business structure. Your offshore business consultant will need to take it upon him or herself to collect from you all (due diligence paperwork); after which he or she goes to work putting together a comprehensive plan inclusive of services performed; amount of time projected for each stage of the project; and associated cost(s). Incorporate offshore Once offshore incorporation begins, your involvement as offshore incorporation client becomes quite minimal. It is at this juncture of offshore incorporation your offshore business consultant begins the process of registering your organization with all appropriate governmental entities within the jurisdiction you have selected. After this is complete: your offshore consultant presents to you a Certificate of Incorporation; paperwork associated with the offshore incorporation inclusive of governmental approved correspondence; original share certificates; documentation originating from the public register showing company specifics which are available for viewing by the general public—that is, if necessary within your selected offshore jurisdiction; and the receipt of payment for the governmental yearly offshore (company) registration licensing fee. Attain as much as possible from offshore incorporation You may attain offshore company services as far as support if necessary. In example, some offshore venues require a physical presence with regard to offshore incorporation. Your consultant can 11 assist in your setting up an office within the area; or implement a virtual office arrangement. Take into consideration how your offshore consultant can assist in your company's financial health pertinent to the offshore incorporation. By this, you will wish to take care of financial strategies and opportunities such as offshore bank accounts, locating an office (if essential); employment of office personnel; attainment of visas relative to employment; filing of taxes; marketing of your offshore corporation, and so on and so forth. In other words, there are business strategies your business consultant should be well aware with respect to the jurisdiction you've chosen to incorporate; and he or she should be quite open in facilitating fundamental business practices within the selected offshore domain. The set up of an offshore company is quite the accomplishment for the entrepreneur wishing to protect wealth and keep matters as to his or her organization private. However, in order to do so requires the entrepreneur or organization optimize business methodologies as it pertains to offshore incorporation to avoid any legal headaches. The preceding presents the best reasons why it is important you (early on) engage the services of a well-reputed offshore business formation agent. In so doing, you can rest assured your business's interests are well-served. 12 Chapter Two: Offshore Incorporation Used in Order to Assure Protection of Assets Depending on jurisdiction, owning an offshore company can allow the offshore owner to avoid paying income taxes, inheritance tax, and capital gains tax. Also, there is another draw in setting up an offshore company and that is you can sell the company by merely transferring the shares of the company; rather than going through the headache of selling the company as a whole; or better put, transferring the property in general. The preceding is a good strategy as far as selling the offshore company in that you can decrease the standard property purchase fees for both the seller of the property and the purchaser. Additionally, consider the fact, assets that are transferred to a trust are not part of the property; so they are protected from any form of litigation. However that said, know there are (generally- speaking) exceptions to every rule; and in certain instances shares in trust can be gone after or attacked as well: That is why selecting a jurisdiction offshore providing reliable protection of assets (legislation) is essential. Certainly, the owner of a company who possess a high net worth (financially) may elect to set up a trust in order to hold the shares of his or her company. This means, upon the owner's passing, the benefits of the assets may easily go to the decedent's heirs without the payment of inheritance tax. Liability protection allows you to spread the risk 13 If a lawsuit is filed against the corporate entity of an LLC; the corporation can only lose the assets it possesses; and not the assets of each individual shareholder. In other words, the liability of the persons associated with the organization is only limited to his or her ownership in the way of shares within the corporation. Additionally, financial losses relative to company shareholders of a personal nature are not the responsibility of the corporate entity. Further, two corporations are much more successful in the way of asset protection than one corporation. In making use of two corporate structures; the business can greatly reduce risk associated with litigation. The two corporation strategy allows for less exposure in the way of possible lawsuits for the business owner and as a result increases overall protection of (the owner's) assets. The profitability of the corporate entity is generally taxed at the rate where it is incorporated offshore; and not the owner's country of residence. This infers, registering your company in offshore nations where the taxes are relatively low or nil is most important. The preceding is especially useful for shareholders who may live in countries where the tax rate is relatively high. That said, generally speaking, it is significant to note that profits received by owners of the corporation are normally taxed within the nation where the director or shareholder resides. In conclusion of what has just been conveyed, this is why it is particularly important your corporation receive the best in structuring and planning in order to get the most out of offshore incorporation. Hiring a consultancy company, in this regard that can provide plenty of know-how in the area is key. Tax havens: Another fundamental component of offshore planning The reason persons who have acquired financial prosperity choose offshore venues is to take advantage (of the fact) such jurisdictions are tax havens. This is alongside the fact(s) offshore venues are good places to set up trust(s) with regard to retirement; and for purposes of (*personal and business) banking. However, relative to individual needs, it is best to approach offshore planning on a case-by-case basis rather than effecting a strategy using a broad-brush method. 14 (*Note: Most generally, banking activities at offshore locations are relegated to account setup and making deposits.) Persons involved in the offshore planning process are well off or informed to know: each offshore jurisdiction offers the individual of wealth different opportunities from the standpoint of being tax havens. Tax haven, by definition means the offshore venue provides the individual a tax advantage, one way or another. Now you probably can see why it is important you work with a planner in selecting a jurisdiction that offers you the greatest advantage: fundamentally, it will be wise to consider offshore jurisdictions and weigh each, one by one, as to what is offered with regard to your unique business entity. In further explanation of tax havens the following characteristics may apply, again according to the offshore venue you select. 1) The jurisdiction may not levy any tax on income earned; or, 2) it may possess a very low tax rate, Another advantage of maintaining your assets offshore, from a tax standpoint, is the country of offshore incorporation may have a tax treaty in effect which calls for no double taxation on income earned. Additionally, there may be (tax) incentives that come into play for the person who wishes to set up within an offshore venue. The incentives may come in the form of specialized tax treatment as it pertains to investments; or reward persons who choose to move to the foreign domicile. Businesses who set up in certain offshore locations may realize tax savings or incentives such as minimization or forgiveness of taxes when providing employment opportunities for persons within that nation; and relative to particular industries. The preceding, naturally is relative to the economic needs of the country. The preceding aside, it is important to recognize tax havens fall under six significant categories. The discussion as to the six recognized tax havens follow. 15 Tax haven classification one: No taxes The first classification offered here may seem a little more than obvious. This is understandable since the majority of persons—when thinking of tax havens—reason a tax haven is where you are protected from paying taxes on your income and/or investment gain. The following offshore jurisdictions offer freedom from taxation: a) Vanuatu, b) St. Vincent, c) Cayman Islands, d) Nevis, e) Turks and Caicos, f) Bahamas, g) Bermuda, and h) Anguilla. Tax haven classification two: Taxed on local income only The second tax haven classification is not all the time known to persons who share the preconceived notions that tax haven means no tax in general. Again, what you must ultimately recognize when structuring your offshore plan as it pertains to either personal assets; or your business is that a tax haven offers you or your business certain tax advantage(s); not it ―guarantees‖ you non- payment of taxes on income. A good offshore planner will assist you in locating within an offshore venue that best fits your particular financial requirements. That said, the offshore countries that apply a tax to income earned within the country or region only are inclusive of the following (list): a) Belize, b) Hong Kong, c) Panama, d) Gibraltar, e) Liberia, and f) Costa Rica. Tax haven classification three: Benefits of a country's tax treaty along with low taxation As conveyed within the preceding text, there are countries that forbid double-taxation. The following list of world areas provide relatively low taxation; and generally speaking have treaties in place prohibiting double-taxation. The list is inclusive of: a) the British Virgin Islands, b) 16 Luxembourg; c) Singapore; d) (Netherlands) Antilles, and e) The Netherlands. Tax haven classification four: Tax privileges Tax haven classification four is categorized as countries providing special tax privileges for the entity or persons who chooses such nations for an offshore (tax) haven. The relatively small list includes: a) The Isle of Man; and b) The Channel Islands. Tax haven classification five: Preferred tax treatment of individuals The following world areas are able to offer special tax treatment to individuals. The list includes: a) Monaco, b) Campione d'Italia, c) Andorra, and d) Sark. Tax haven classification six: Preferred tax treatment for businesses Countries recognized for providing businesses with special tax treatment include: a) Barbados, b) Grenada, c) Jamaica, d) Montserrat, and e) Antigua. With regard to the preceding, you can now see why it is important to work with an offshore planner who is well-apprised of the ins and outs of offshore planning. Assuredly offshore planning is complex without the right professional guidance. As indicated in the above-text: a good offshore planner will immediately recognize which jurisdiction and offshore planning strategy is right for you. This does not mean however, you should not go into the process with some worthwhile offshore planning information under your cap: fortunately, by your reading this text, you are attaining the fundamental knowledge as it regards offshore methodologies before you engage in formally effecting the process with your offshore planner. (In other words, you are on the right track: so continue reading.) 17 Knowledge of a country's tax law is an important component of offshore planning: however, the offshore planning (process) is so much more You will soon find out, offshore strategy is much more than finding the right tax haven. In example, for the international business company wishing to incorporate offshore, the process will require the business entity and its principals understand the laws of that offshore venue pertinent to doing business within that country's domicile. In other words, it is advisably crucial the business understand how the country expects the offshore company to conduct business (within their locale). Additionally, consider the fact, for those individuals or companies much more interested in the benefits of privacy and asset protection, these items may present particularly more interest than the benefits offered by that locale's rules regarding tax havens. In other words, all areas pertinent to setting up an offshore corporation or entity must be evaluated and weighed including: a) Asset protection; b) Privacy issues; and, c) Tax advantages within that particular region of the world. Consider too, that many times more than one offshore jurisdiction is used within the planning process. This means the individual or business entity may take advantage of features and opportunities presented within a (respective) particular nation; and may use another jurisdiction for other business or personal financial planning purposes. It is more common than not that companies or persons wishing to retire in other countries will make the best use of offshore benefits offered in more than one jurisdiction or country. You may further see why it is important you attain competent counsel with respect to offshore planning: someone who is familiar with all offshore venues; doing business in each, and can recommend the best offshore venue or venues for your particular needs. Certainly, an offshore planning establishment or company familiar with the tax laws pertinent to different offshore domains or countries is critical. This is due to the fact, similar to all types of 18 legislation, tax laws can change readily; and you will need to have a planning agency that makes it a point to stay on top of recent tax changes within all offshore venues. Conclusively, as it pertains to the last paragraph only, working with the right offshore planning agency makes it possible for you to receive up-to-date information as to changes within tax law within your current offshore jurisdiction of choice; and what to do about it (if, in fact you should take action) when such tax changes take effect. The consistently informed international corporation or individual can advisably stay apprised of ways to either: a) eliminate tax liability; or b) significantly reduce the amount of taxes owed. 19 Chapter Three: Offshore Investment Strategy Part of most offshore planning processes includes offshore investment. By now, you may suppose this is a ―given.‖ In order to better explain offshore investment(s) it is wise, at this point, to provide a simplified definition of it. Offshore investing is merely keeping monetary assets within an offshore jurisdiction; that is, other than the place where the investor resides. That said, there is still a negative stigma attached, many times, as it pertains to offshore investment. In the past, reasonably it can be stated: offshore venues, in the minds of many, represented locales where persons placed their assets in order to evade taxes, or illegally launder money. Some less than legitimate offshore locations even allowed certain non-ethical individuals to conceal or protect assets that were acquired illegally. The offshore locations, with regard to the preceding examples were places where offshore activity was not monitored well. However, rest assured, nowadays, offshore strategies as to keeping assets safe is a well-regarded tax solution in reducing tax burdens levied against companies and individuals (alike) within certain principal national locations. Offshore locations that are well regulated make it possible for the legitimate investor to take advantage of better rates of return on his or her investment. Additionally, the contemporary well- regarded offshore venue makes it possible for investors to acquire a lower tax rate in accord with their (respective) investments. The ideal offshore investment solution allows the investor to grow his or her money at a more accelerated pace; allowing for a healthier rate of return. In summation of well-regulated offshore entities as to investment activities: The offshore investment vehicle provides the offshore investor with 20 a less costly financial investment solution than what is offered within his or her country of origin— meaning in this regard, residence. The offshore locales which are particularly favored by smart investors are referred to as offshore financial centers; due to the low rate of tax applied to income. Another term used with regard to offshore financial center is tax haven. Offshore investment activities are widely accepted nowadays You may be surprised to know offshore investment is a fairly accepted practice. Not only is it legal, it allows the investor, as previously stated, to grow his or her income more rapidly. In fact, offshore investment solutions are open to any investor who is able to meet the standard or minimum amount of investment and can pay the required fees to establish his or her investment within an offshore venue. Over fifty percent of the world's investors make use of offshore accounts. A good many of these investors are organizations that are highly recognized on a global basis as well as a national level. Reasonably, tax reduction or elimination is the dynamic behind investing on an offshore basis. By implementing offshore investment strategies; companies are able to conduct business activities in a more prosperous manner. Certainly, taxes levied by the company's country of origin or home are instrumental in whether or not the company makes a profit or to overall profitability of the business establishment's investment(s). Not surprisingly, after reading the preceding in regard to profitability as a result of reduced taxation, the overseas investment strategy allows the international business arrangement engaging in offshore investment opportunities a chance at greater full-scale profitability. It is the latter that attracts companies (and individuals) to conduct investment activity within a favorable foreign (offshore) market. Secondly, besides the fact of tax advantage, the offshore venues relative to investing provides less regulations than what is enforced within the company's or individual's home country. Needless to 21 say, the investor's offshore investment consultant whether he or she is a fund manager; stockbroker, trustee, or banking institution realizes a much more flexible environment which to grow the investor's capital. The second aspect has a great deal of bearing on growth potential of the investor's respective investments, due to the fact, the offshore investment environment is far less restrictive than the company's; or individual's country of residential domicile. Practical vehicles of offshore investment activities There is a great deal of opportunity available to the offshore investor. Reasonably, the most common offshore investment vehicles include: a) Money Market (funds); and b) Bond and Equity (financial vehicle) arrangements. The offshore corporation presents an opportunity to invest in jurisdictions which may not cater to individuals. There are many good reasons to invest offshore; however, the following list provides (possibly) the best reasons why you may wish to invest on an offshore basis: Tax legislation is generally in force that prohibits taxation of investment income in several or multiple offshore venues (or jurisdictions). Further, lower tax rates are commonly used to attract new industries to a given offshore locale. The preceding lower tax rate incentives (again, in order to attract new non-domesticated businesses to particular world areas) have remained consistent on a global basis. This includes most world markets; with the exception being the United States. The tax incentive trend has remained (again) consistent for more than several decades; and the tax rate has lowered overall approximately twenty percent or moved from fifty -one percent to thirty-two percent. Diversification is also key to investing wisely. The offshore investment makes it possible to invest on a more diversified level since varying investment opportunities and associated strategies are more realized than on domesticated soil. 22 Inheriting property and assets is made easier through engagement in offshore investment. The latter statement is true due to the fact, the heir is not subject to communal laws as to property relevant to the decedent's residential jurisdiction. Investments, such as hedge funds which provide the investor with a more aggressive means of investment strategy prove a very healthy financial solution since such funds thrive within offshore (non-restrictive) venues. The primary place where hedge funds perform best are the Cayman Islands. Level of privacy is afforded the investor and investor's financial manager resulting in better tax strategy and (subsequent) tax management on taxes relative to: a) inheritance; b) capital gains; and c) investment income. The primary offshore tax havens (aka financial centers) generally have financial industry servicing areas where experts in the way of a) (offshore) banking, b) insurance, c) financial funds; d) trusts, e) asset risk management; and f) legal assistance are available (and on a highly evolved basis). 23 Chapter Four: Explanation of Tax Free and Minimal Tax Offshore Jurisdictions Any book on offshore incorporation would not be complete without a full discussion on tax free and minimal tax jurisdictions and what such jurisdictions can mean (opportunity-wise) for the offshore international corporation and/or investor. Chapter four dives into the relative complexities of understanding tax havens; however, with the goal to keep such discussion relative easy to understand. In attaining a knowledge of how tax havens come about and operate in various world-wide locales, you are able to see more clearly why using the offshore component of a free to minimal tax venue is significant as to your ability to more healthfully produce profits with respect to your company or as a means of individual investment. Certainly, we have defined tax haven in preceding chapters. However, from a broader perspective; the true definition of tax haven is somewhat debatable. This means, more accurately that tax haven in the broadest sense does not have a concise clear definition. You can, as already made known within a preceding chapter, view a tax haven in the form of what it offers the investor by means of several distinct classifications. The latter being all fine and good still does not give us the general definition. If we are to define tax haven as a legitimate component of offshore incorporation then the following definition is applicable: A tax haven is a nation where particular taxes are levied at a low rate or possibly not at all; and wherein the country, through its tax law has established the lower rate or non-tax status. Businesses and individuals find it attractive to re-establish themselves within countries or offshore locations where there are little or no taxes. As a result of various industries locating to new countries or markets because of the low rate of taxation, this hidden dynamic causes various areas of the world to thrive. Tax havens present a win-win situation in that businesses grow at a more substantial rate due to the fact the tax burden is greatly lowered; and offshore nations economies thrive 24 due to the fact the country's local people are afforded new, local job opportunities alongside other positive economic factors. The cynic may describe a tax haven as a way for a particular corporation to evade the payment of taxes. However, on whole, the tax haven; more reasonably explained is a place where the low tax rate offered to international businesses is a motivational means to expand the nation's economy by attracting new business. In the most precise terms, as to the latter, a tax haven may be thought of as any nation who lowers its taxes (by means of government legislation) in order to bring foreign capital to its soil. Consider too, the United States Government Accountability Office, as of the year 2008 was still not able to fully determine the true definition of (what fully constituted) a tax haven. Given the following predicament, the U.S. Government Accountability Office has provided general characteristics as to the structural make-up of a tax haven. The following are all considered characteristics (of a tax haven) by the (preceding) governmental office. The tax haven is more than likely comprised of a structure wherein the investor/company a) pays no taxes or minimal taxes; b) tax information is not shared readily between governmental tax authorities; c) there is a lack of transparency from a legislative, operational, legal or administrative standpoint; d) the corporate entity does not need to necessarily locate within the overseas domicile; and e) the nation will promote itself as an offshore financial center; also known as a tax haven. (Author's note: Know that the characteristics listed herein are not the verbatim list of characteristics supplied by the governmental office; rather, the (author's) interpretation of the governmental list of characteristics as it pertains to tax haven.) Lowering tax rates or reducing tax liability amongst international jurisdictions is not a new idea It may be formally recognized that legislating new tax laws in various nations in order to reduce an individual's or business's tax liability is certainly not an idea that was born within contemporary times. One example is found within the history of Ancient Greece. Islands in Greece were used as holding stations for products by trading companies in order to keep from paying the two percent tax 25 which was imposed by Athens. Further, U.S. Citizens have long recognized the fact that during the early 18th century, Americans conducted trade with their South American neighbors in order not to pay taxes to the British. Regardless of the historical examples presented (here); the true tax haven, it is believed, emerged right after the First World War. One international locale claiming themselves as the first true tax haven is Bermuda. Their claim is based on the establishment of (their) mid-30's legislation relative to offshore companies. However that said, they may have been ―trumped‖ in the way of their claim as first offshore tax haven status by way of of a trust law enacted by Liechtenstein in the mid-20s where the primary objective of such legislation was to attract new foreign capital to the area. Switzerland, well-known for its Swiss bank accounts and a way for non-foreign companies to profit in the way of lower tax rates may outrank Liechtenstein: During the early 1900s or years following the First World War, Switzerland maintained a low tax rate. This is primarily due to the fact that during the War years, Switzerland had remained neutral. Accordingly, many foreign investors flocked to Switzerland, subsequently opening Swiss bank accounts where (too) they could appreciate a lower tax rate. Consider the fact, after World War I many European nations were working at efforts of reconstruction: This caused the tax rates within these particular (European) nations to escalate at sharp levels. Again, Switzerland had no concerns as to rebuilding their infrastructure; and, accordingly was able to offer persons and corporations tax rates that were comparatively lower than that of the neighboring European nations engaged in the process of after war reconstruction (or rebuilding). All that said, most economic experts will agree, it is difficult to nail down a date; or period of time when the (true) contemporary tax haven actually emerged. The tax haven generally existed for private individuals up until the decade of the 50s. Since the fifties era, offshore venues termed as tax havens have been primarily interested in attracting 26 (international) businesses by means of lower rates of taxation or no taxation (whatsoever). Monetary and exchange control The vast majority of tax havens have a built-in double monetary control system in place. The system provides a way to discern foreigners from residents. It is also a way to distinguish domestic currency from that of foreign currency. In conclusion of the preceding statement: Residents are subject to monetary controls whereas persons of non-residential stature are not subject (to such controls). In light of the preceding, this means a person or owner of a company who is not a resident of a particular tax haven with this type of control in place is viewed as a non-resident when conducting overseas trading; and, again, pertinent to monetary and exchange control. The foreign company, due to the monetary and exchange control system, as described, is able to establish a company within that particular tax haven: This means, in other words, the foreign company's operational or administrative function will not be subjected to exchange controls as long as the company is willing to use foreign currency with regard to trading activities conducted outside the tax haven. Financial offshore centers or tax havens generally have currency which is conveniently convertible. In example, most convertible foreign currencies (as described above) are easily convertible to American dollars, British pounds, or Euros. Advantages of tax havens: Four primary areas exist The beneficial features of using tax havens with respect to a company's profitability or an individual's personal financial requirements cannot be over-emphasized. The following list and descriptions show four significant features of employing the use of the tax haven relative to offshore 27 incorporation planning and/or personal asset protection. The following list of terms and descriptions are considered by economists as the key areas (historically) which provide greater ease of profitability for the international business company (set-up); or the person wishing to attain individual personal relief from paying inheritance or income taxes. One methodology used in escaping taxation is relocating to nil or low tax venues. More accurately, individuals have used the preceding strategy in order to escape paying inheritance or capital gains tax(es). Persons of wealth have used this method since the early portion of the 1900s. Such individuals generally have originated or resided (beforehand) within high tax locales. The method used is: the wealthy person relocates to what is referred to as a tax haven; or as previously described, an offshore venue offering the feature to the foreign resident of low taxes on income; or no tax on income earned. Additionally, it is very rare to find a tax haven in the world that assesses a tax on Capital Gains or on Inheritance. Individuals who take advantage of low tax havens are appropriately referred to as tax exiles. A second methodology employed in order to avoid paying tax is referred to as holding of assets or more appropriately termed asset holding. Wealthy individuals who are familiar with the second strategy or methodology set their assets up in a trust; or within a (holding) company, or within a trust which owns a company. The way this method works is generally the trust or company is set up within one tax haven; and is administered in another. The operational effect of the set up is such that assets are held inclusive of a) a portfolio or diverse selection of investments under the management of a portfolio manager; or management company; trading organizations; and tangible assets such as land. The effect of employing the second methodology in making use of tax havens is that by changing ownership of the assets into an entity which is not a resident within a jurisdiction wherein taxes are assessed at a high tax rate, the assets no longer are taxable inside the jurisdiction of the high tax locale or venue. Usually, the dynamic offered with this approach is used to avoid paying a particular tax. A good example of someone who may use this type of strategy is a person of abundant wealth transferring his or her real estate into an offshore tax 28 haven pertinent to avoidance of paying estate taxes. The testator then has the latitude to settle shares of the company within a trust wherein he or she is a trustee and another individual (trustee) holds the life estate—where subsequently, the life estate passes to the estate's heirs. In other words, upon the passing of the testator, the shares will immediately vest to the testator's heirs; who also may acquire property in the form of real estate. The result of using the method is all of the preceding activity is carried out without the decedent's assets and real estate needing to go through the process of probate; and then being assessed an inheritance tax on top of a lengthy probate process. Outside of the example presented: consider too that the majority of countries in general will assess inheritance and all associated taxes on real property within their venues or jurisdictions; regardless of the decedent's original country of origin. (In other words, the following method (offered as an example herein) will not work within most nations as it pertains to (personal) real estate or the family home.) The strategy or method (described) is best used with respect to assets that present as intangible in nature. A third methodology pertinent to tax havens involves conducting business within known financial servicing centers wherein the business does not require a specific physical presence within the geographical location (to do so). This method in using tax havens is ideal for the business or foreign entity who does not require a mass labor force in order to run the business. The scenario is the business is set up inside a tax haven in order that exposure to taxation is greatly reduced. An example that may be relative are organizations related to insurance products incorporating within low tax offshore venues. 29 There have been a vast majority of insurance organizations, the world over which have migrated to foreign tax havens within the past few decades. Other examples of less labor intensive companies who have set themselves up using offshore venues include Internet based service organizations; and group financial companies. One scam arose in the 70s and 80s where corporation groups formed an offshore presence in order to re-invoice. Such entities merely made a profit margin without effecting any economic activity. Fortunately, nowadays, this is not much of a concern since high level tax regulation and codes prevent the implementation and subsequent associated activities of schemes just described. A fourth methodology with respect to tax havens involves financial third-parties or intermediaries. The majority of economic activity that takes place with regard to the tax haven involves a financial intermediary; or more accurately financial third parties. This means intangible assets in the way of: a) mutual funds, b) life insurance products; c) pension or retirement savings; and d) banking activities are administered within offshore low tax jurisdictions; using a competent third party or intermediary. The way the method works is: the money or funds are deposited with an intermediary within the low-tax venue. In turn, the financial intermediary invests the monetary assets back into the higher tax venue. The reason the method proves effective is due to the fact it eliminates an additional layering of taxation. Granted, the approach may not keep the investor from paying taxes on investment income within his or her country of origin; however, it does provide a way for the financial service organization to provide his or her customer financial products multi- jurisdictional in aspect (or nature). The approach, historically, has worked quite well as it regards offshore venues. Assuredly, now you are realizing the benefits of using tax havens in the way of asset protection after reviewing or reading through the preceding four tax haven methodologies. Suffice it to say, there are many features offered by foreign financial service centers that allow individual investors; as well as 30 international companies to grow and increase their revenues each year. Not only does the tax haven offer privacy as far as financial disclosure; it offers a way to profit from minimal taxation; or non-existent taxation. The chapters that follow this chapter will deal with describing various popular offshore jurisdictions where you can safely place your funds; using the services of a professional, skilled offshore planner. 31 Chapter Five: Making a Corporate Home in Belize Belize is considered a popular venue to set up an international business company. There are many reasons why a business owner may wish to set up an international business corporation (also referred to as an IBC) within the country of Belize. In summation of the preceding sentence, it may be accurately stated: A Belize international business company or corporation is an excellent financial vehicle in order to carry out global trade and business-related activity. The contemporary legislation offered within Belize provides optimum flexibility in the way of asset protection on a world-level. Setting up a Belize IBC is an ideal way to optimize retirement and investment strategies (too). The owner of a Belize IBC is afforded many advantages as it pertains to various areas of his or her business. The Belize IBC, more accurately described or defined is essentially a corporation which conducts trade and business activities outside of the country of Belize. That said, the international business company who associates itself with Belize may carry on the following functions within the country: 1. Establish banking relationships within the country. The preceding involves depositing funds within local banks inside of the country; and maintaining (a) Belize bank account(s). 2. Establish or build professional rapport with individuals inside of the country as it pertains to international business activities. Also, maintaining contacts of a professional business nature as it pertains to the Belize IBC is encouraged. 3. The Belize IBC may set up bookkeeping or accounting functions (of the business) within the country and maintain financial record-keeping therein too. 32 4. Stockholders' and Board of Directors' meetings may be scheduled and held within the country (of Belize) (once again, when conducting business through the formation of a Belize IBC). 5. The Belize IBC may make use of leased property for usage as a business office; 6. Hold stock or shares within another (separate) Belize IBC; and, 7. Own maritime vessels (registered within the country). Conclusively, Belize presents one of the most popular locations in the set up and (subsequent) activities associated with an international business company. We will return with further information about all the features Belize offers as an offshore venue as far as the formation, establishment and administration of business later (within the text). However, for now, consider Belize one of the top choices wherein to conduct international business (offshore) ―so to speak‖ and investment activities. 33 Chapter Six: Panama -- A Very Popular Venue for Offshore Incorporation There are several reasons why Panama has become a very popular venue in the way of offshore incorporation (today). The following list suggests reasons why Panama is an ideal offshore venue for international business companies and investors. 1. Panama, currently is politically stable; 2. The country is located within a prime geographical location; and, 3. Panama possesses many economic components or more accurately characteristics which makes it perfect for the offshore IBC to conduct business activity and realize steady growth (or profitability). Suffice it to say, Panama has taken very key steps in modernizing its economy and promoting or attracting foreign investors. Many economists agree the country is an ideal location as it pertains to: a) finance; b) international investments; and c) business activity relative to global transactions and operations or administration. Panama's foreign investor principle or philosophy places financial control with the foreign investor Panama's philosophy or principle as it pertains to foreign investors and/or companies is termed its territoriality principle. The principle states: ―Income which is received from foreign sources is not taxed. The income produced locally is the only income taxed regardless of the nationality of the person or residential status of the entity paying taxes.‖ Another draw as it pertains to placing investments within the country is that dividend income is not taxed. 34 Generally speaking, the vast majority of foreign investors form corporations inside the country. This is primarily due to the fact, Panama does not impose restrictions as to cash outgo and in-go in the way of business transactions. There are no restrictions with regard to monetary exchange or currency (regulations). Additionally, there are no requirements with respect to the reporting of business (financial) transactions. Panama, politically and structurally is a sovereign state. The country is fully sovereign from any other world nation. This means there are no mutual treaties in place relative to legal assistance between Panama and another nation. In conclusion of what has been said: The country presents a well-reputed global trading venue; and financial center. Further, the Panama Private Interest Foundation is thought of as one of the foremost estate planning and asset protection financial vehicles in existence today. The financial vehicle termed once again as the Panama Private Interest Foundation is most commonly used by persons who wish to control and maintain their respective foreign corporations; however are limited in so doing based on the fact there are restrictive or controlled foreign corporation laws in place within their principal country of residence. The objective of using Panama's Private Interest Foundation for such individuals is to remove their personal name in affiliation with the company; and transfer such ownership/name where their ownership may remain discreet or anonymous. In using the Private Interest Foundation technique, the foreign investor establishes or creates a private interest foundation within the country (of Panama) wherein the private interest foundation holds and owns the stock of the foreign owner's corporation: This is in lieu of the owner holding the shares under his or her personal name; or more accurately in bearer form (or: as bearer). 35 Conclusively, using the private interest foundation offers the ultimate in (asset) protection and privacy for the foreign investor. You probably can easily recognize why such a concept (and financial vehicle) is popular with foreign corporations wishing to maintain optimum financial anonymity. Chapter Seven: The British Virgin Islands Presents the Foreign Investor with another Highly Popular Offshore Incorporation Option The number of reasons that exist relative to offshore incorporation within the British Virgin Islands is favorably substantial. Offshore legislation has been favorably progressive in nature: This means the foreign investor is provided a good deal of financial advantage by incorporating his or her company within the British Virgin Islands (a.k.a. The BVI). This chapter reviews all of the advantages of selecting the British Virgin Islands for purposes of offshore incorporation. Asset protection is guaranteed Persons or foreign entities incorporating within the BVI are assured the offshore venue will provide asset protection. This means your financial information will not be exposed to prying third parties such as your home country's tax authorities. The BVI presents a way for the foreign investor who forms an offshore presence (within the BVI) to transfer his or her assets to another corporate setup; or (another) nation. The corporate entities (wherein) you may transfer assets are inclusive of the following list: a) Foundations; b) Partnerships; c) Associations; and d) Trusts. It is also possible to transfer domicile. The foreign investor is exempt from local taxation A strong draw for the persons seeking offshore incorporation with regard to The BVI is the fact foreign corporations are exempt from local taxes. The fact is not necessarily true with regard to other offshore jurisdictions. The only fees you will pay within The BVI, as far as incorporation are: a) A registration fee; and b) A yearly license or franchise fee. 36 It is believed by many economists and foreign investors The BVI offers the ultimate in financial privacy The BVI is well-regarded as an offshore incorporation venue by many foreign investors and economists alike: and there is good reason for it. In one short phrase, the experts believe The BVI offers the optimum in the way of financial confidentiality. The following list more fully addresses why the preceding statement is true. 1. It is possible to acquire bearer and registered shares. Shares that are registered can be held and acquired by the company. Bearer shares must be deposited with a custodian who is licensed. The preceding is respective of a new rule set. Further, bearer shares and registered shares may be converted from one form to another (form). No requirements exist pertinent to filing the Register of Stockholders. This infers: registration can be made when convenient. You must however register your company's Board of Directors: although, rest assured, information with respect to The Directors is not disclosed. 2. There are no requirements with regard to filing financial or company information with respect to the Registrar (of Companies). The exception(s) to the preceding are inclusive of Articles of Association; and Memorandum. 3. Bearer shares are completely anonymous. Share registers are made available only for Shareholders who are Registered; or by Court Order (through a British Virgin Island Court). 4. No requirements are set forth in order to file annualized summaries with the government. The only annualized form needed by governmental authorities is the yearly fee form which is filed by a registered agent located inside the British Virgin Islands. 37 5. The government requirement is: One director. The director may either be an individual or a company. Besides the privacy feature(s), the BVI provides other attractive benefits relative to offshore incorporation for the foreign investor The British Virgin Islands rewards foreign investment (dollars) and subsequent offshore incorporation in many other ways. The following list describes other features of incorporating offshore within the popular British Virgin Islands. 1. No capital requirements exist with regard to shares issued. 2. There are no restrictions where the foreign company may maintain accounting details or records. 3. Company directors may protect their assets by way of transferring the company assets to: a) another corporate or legal entity; or b) the company's trustees. 4. Flexible services exist within the BVI after your company is incorporated. 5. There is no legal requirement with regard to holding yearly meetings. 6. The naming of your offshore company is highly non-restrictive. The name of the company can be composed of any language. The company's name must include (however) one of the following words: a) Limited, b) Corporation, c) Incorporated, d) Sociedad Anonima, or the word's equivalent. 7. Low costs in the way of minimum capital; and low governmental fees (are other favorable features). 38 Chapter Eight: The Benefits of Offshore Incorporation within Seychelles The draw of creating an International Business Company in Seychelles is due to the fact the formation of the offshore corporation is completely free of tax. The following list spells out (more) precisely what the Seychelles IBC is entitled. Features of Seychelles Offshore Incorporation 1. The IBC located in Seychelles may open bank accounts and make (subsequent) deposits. (However, anything over opening accounts and making deposits is not technically allowed.) The preceding means opening up the bank account in Seychelles is primarily a way to keep the financial profits or incoming cash generated by the business free of taxation originating from your domicile of residence. 2. The (Seychelles') IBC is entitled to maintain the company's books or an accounting of business transaction(s) within the country (of Seychelles). 3. The IBC may develop a rapport and create professional-service(s) relationships with Seychelles' accountants, attorneys, management and trust companies as well as (other) legal advisers. 4. The IBC may lease property in Seychelles with the intent of using such property as an office (wherein records of the business may be maintained.) In other words, the leased office may be used to ―house‖ the company's books and (corporate) records. 5. The IBC is entitled to hold Board of Directors' meetings and Shareholder meetings. 39 6. The International Business Company may hold its investments and stock in another Seychelles' IBC; or other domestic corporation. 7. The IBC may have its company shares held by residents of the country (Seychelles). 8. The IBC is entitled to own and register maritime vessels and aircraft inside (of) the country. Restrictions with regard to the Seychelles' international business company There are few restrictions that apply to a Seychelles' IBC. The following list sums up (such) stipulations; or the few restrictions that apply. 1. The IBC (set up) in Seychelles cannot conduct business operations, (or more accurately, its primary business activities) within the country. 2. The IBC is (again, certainly entitled to lease office space within the country) in order to maintain important business records; and conduct shareholder and Board of Directors' meetings. However, the Seychelles' IBC cannot own real property in Seychelles. 3. The Seychelles' IBC may not conduct insurance-related business, banking activities (other than opening up a Seychelles account and making deposits); or business requiring a registered agent. (Note: With regard to the preceding statement, the preceding business-related activities are subject to certain governmental regulations and licensing requirements). Control of Currency: The Seychelles' IBC may use the currency of its (choosing) preference An advantage of incorporating within Seychelles is the fact you are afforded the ability to use any currency. In other words, there are no restrictions placed upon the Seychelles' IBC in the way of currency control. The IBC has the ability to select currency, with respect to its capital; and shares in 40 any denomination. Chapter Nine: Revisiting Offshore Incorporation in Belize One reason to select Belize as an out-of-country financial center: It is an English speaking country Many offshore investors are choosing Belize as the venue where to place their securities; and protect their assets. Belize offers the investor an English-speaking foreign domicile. In fact, English is the official language of the country. Suffice it to say: The fact the foreign domain offers outside investors an out-of-country financial center where to protect (their) assets with English as the official language makes it particularly attractive (to foreign investors). Also, persons located on the continent of North America have (easy) access to their protected financial holdings since the country is not situated (geographically) overseas. The preceding two facts, again, makes Belize a highly popular out-of-country venue in the way of a tax haven. Certainly, at this point of the text: It is natural that you may wonder about country ―particulars‖ as it pertains to Belize. In order to provide (you) the best information, the chapter is segmented in the following manner: The first part of the chapter provides general details or information about Belize. The information is comprised of land area; population, geography, and economic factors. Secondly, the language(s) of Belize are addressed. In this regard, you are already aware English is the ―official‖ language of the country. That said, there are other (secondary forms) of language spoken in Belize (which may interest investors). The chapter gets you better acquainted with the country; and provides you with a better understanding or greater clarity of why Belize provides you (as investor) a good location in the way of 41 out-of-country investment/asset protection and financial privacy. The following chapters further elaborate on the country's prime geographical local (for many foreign investors); benefits afforded the Belize IBC are re-emphasized; and, most importantly, significant first steps in setting up an offshore account within the country are addressed. A brief Belize history and geography lesson as well as other general information Belize: Once British Honduras Historically speaking, Belize was once referred to as British Honduras. (The preceding is why Belize is an official English speaking nation.) Belize was the United Kingdom's final colony located on the American land mass. Geographical Location The country of Belize is situated on the coast of the Caribbean within the northern portion of Central America. North of the country is the Mexican state referred to as Quintana Roo. West of Belize is the area of Peten—part of Guatemala. South is Izabel: also part of Guatemala. The vast Carribean (Sea) lies towards the east of the country. The country of Belize is shaped like a rectangle. It is one-hundred (100) kilometers wide; and two-hundred eighty (280) kilometers tall. Belize independence Tensions between Guatemala and Belize were strong for a considerable length of time: however in 1981, Belize acquired its independence. In so doing, the country of Guatemala was able to make claim to a substantial portion of Belize's territory. Guatemala formally recognized Belize's independence in 1991. Other neighboring nations have not settled a border dispute with Belize which 42 began many centuries back (during the Colonial era to be exact). Population and size of land mass The land area is precisely 22,965 square kilometers. (Land mass, however is 21,400 square kilometers.) The population is 291,800 based on statistics from 2006. The country's primary religion is Christianity. A dollar in Belize is comprised of one-hundred cents. The preceding monetary setup is same for Belize as in the United States of America. (The country's capital is Belmopan.) Exports Major country exports include: a) Bananas, b) Fish, c) Sugar, d) Citrus Fruits, e) Wood, f) Molasses, and g) Oil. Media There are no daily newspapers in Belize. The country does print weekly newspapers which are subsidized by political parties. Radio stations operated by the State were privatized in 1998. Private television stations are popular within the country; and cable TV is the norm in various towns within the country. Physiographic areas Belize is basically set up with two primary physiographic regions. The Maya mountains as well as different plateaus and basins exist within the country's southern aspect (or region). In Belize's northern portion there are a good many waterways in the form of streams and rivers. The two rivers that run through Belize are: a) Sarstoon; and b) Hondo. The coastal area of the country is flat; and 43 swampy and is filled with lagoons. Climate Belize's climate is subtropical and is comprised of a rainy/wet season and a dry spell. The rain or wet season (in the country) runs from the month of June to (the month of) December. The nation's dry season lasts from: January to May. Seasonal variations occur pertinent to proximity or nearness to the country's coast. Economic Factors – Average cost of living (in the country) Income The per capita income in Belize amounts to six-thousand ($6,000) United States dollars. (The figure is based on statistics provided in 2005.) That said, it is possible to live in Belize on a very non- substantial income. Real property costs Land in Belize costs between five-thousand U.S. Dollars ($5,000) and ten-thousand U.S. Dollars ($10,000) depending on locale. The cost of a house is approximately twenty-five U.S. Dollars per square foot. Properties offering ocean views cost approximately two hundred fifty thousand U.S. Dollars ($250,000). 44 Grocery prices Paying for grocery items proves to be a bit costlier in Belize than in the United States. The reason being: Certain grocery products are imported. However that said, locally grown products are (naturally) cheaper. Additionally, costs of spirits manufactured in Belize prove less expensive than imported alcohol. The following list provides a random rundown of what you might expect to pay for certain (food) items at a grocer located inside of the country. All costs are approximations. 1. Chicken wings – (approximately) $1.85 per pound; 2. Chicken breasts – (approximately) $1.50 per pound; 3. Pork chops (per pound) -- $3.00; 4. Luncheon meat -- $2.25 (per package); 5. Loaf of bread -- $2.60 (large package); 6. Pasta (imported or local) -- $3.50 (package); 7. One box of raisins -- $3.35; and, 8. One bottle of beer -- $1.25. Utilities Utility costs in Belize are projected on an average-cost monthly basis and follow: a) Water expenses: $25; b) Electricity: $100 (generally the projected maximum cost); c) Internet: $55 (per month); and, d) Cable: $18 (per month). 45 (Note: Statistics are based on a (2005) average with regard to cost(s) of living (within Belize)). Language English, as indicated at the chapter's beginning is the official language of the country. Persons from official English speaking countries wishing to protect (their) assets in a foreign domicile find the ―official English-speaking‖ status of the Central American nation most attractive. Official English speaking status means English is the formal primary language used within education and government inside the country. (Certainly, (and once again)), the preceding feature is viewed as a significant benefit for many foreign investors located (close by) in North America. Interestingly, five and six/tenths percent of the country's population speaks English at home. However, fifty-four percent of the country's populous speaks English exceptionally well and twenty-six percent speaks English (somewhat) well; or to a degree where their English language skills are passable for day-to-day conversation. Spanish is the second most spoken language within the country; and the language of choice for a good many residents when they are on their (own) home turf. Fifty percent of the country's residents speak Spanish at home. Spanish is spoken as a secondary language by many persons residing within Belize. Thirty-seven percent of the population of Belize consider Kriol their main language. The language is better described as English Creole. It is made up of syntax; and words originating from a variety of African languages in particular, Twi, Akan, and Igbo and other types of languages inclusive of Central American Spanish and Miskito. Kriol, besides being a primary home language for thirty-seven percent of the Belize population is also a second and third language choice for forty percent of the country's multilingual community. 46 Further, since the language is derived from English, the persons who speak Kriol are also able to understand English. A good many linguists believe Kriol is best classified as its own language whereas other linguistic experts view Kriol as a dialect of English. Lastly, Maya languages are spoken by less than five percent of the population of the country. Conclusively; and regardless, English is the primary (official language of Belize). Spanish is taught as a secondary language: Persons who are bilingual are common in Belize. Foreign investors are at an advantage using the country in the way of asset protection. A strong feature is the fact (once again) the official language is English. 47 Chapter Ten: Belize is Located Nearby Should the North American Investor Need to Visit Certainly an attractive benefit of placing your offshore company; or more precisely out-of country corporation in Belize is its geographical location: This fact is particularly true if you are a resident of the United States; or Canada. Precise geographical location of the Central American Nation If we are to define Belize's precise geographical location, it is seventeen degrees and fifteen feet north of the equator and eighty-eight degrees and forty-five feet west of the prime meridian on the Yucatan Peninsula. The Caribbean Sea borders Belize to the east: the coast border or region is three hundred eighty six kilometers in length. All-in-all, with respect to borders; the country consists of five hundred and sixteen kilometers of land. The country of Mexico is to the north and northwest of Belize; and Guatemala is to to the south; and southwest of it. The total size of Belize is twenty two thousand nine hundred sixty kilometers which twenty two thousand eight hundred kilometers is land and one hundred sixty kilometers is water. Basically, as far as size is concerned the Central American country of Belize is about fifty percent or half the size of Nova Scotia; or just a bit larger than Wales. Belize is (also) just a tad bit smaller than the American state of Massachusetts. Belize is the only English speaking country within Central America The Central American nation (of Belize) is the only English speaking country inside of Central America. Also, it is the only nation in Central America without a coastline bordering the Pacific. 48 Terrain of Belize From the standpoint of terrain, the country is full of coral reefs; and there are islands located to the east of it. The names of the islands include: Lighthouse Reef, Glover Reef, Ambergris Caye; and Turneffe Islands. All of the islands are part of Belize's territory; and form the Barrier Reef of Belize. Also of note, the Belize Barrier Reef is the longest barrier reef located within the Western Hemisphere. It is approximately two hundred miles in total length; or three hundred twenty two kilometers (in length). The only barrier reef that surpasses it in length is the well-known (worldwide) Great Barrier Reef. The Belize River is the largest river located within the Central American nation (of Belize). 49 Chapter Eleven: Review of an IBC incorporated within Belize The international business company located on Belize soil is a company which conducts business-related activity; and trading activity offshore. That said, the Belize IBC (as an offshore company) is allowed to carry on the following activities inside the country: 1. The IBC may establish and maintain professional-level business associations with individuals (in Belize); 2. Deposit funds and maintain bank accounts (within Belize); 3. Prepare accounting records; and (subsequently) maintain records and books (within the country). 4. The international business company may hold its Shareholder's and Board of Directors' meeting within the boundaries of the Central American nation. 5. The Belize IBC may hold a lease respective of real property to be used as an office (inside the country). 6. The IBC may hold stock or shares within another Belize international business company. 7. The IBC may register maritime vessels inside of the Central American nation. 50 Certainly, the benefits are substantial in the way of location; and flexibility when setting up an out-of-country presence within Belize. The next chapter details (for you) the ins and outs of properly setting up a Belize IBC (or international business company). Chapter Twelve: How to Properly Set Up an Offshore Account in Belize Belize, as you have already learned from preceding chapters is an ideal location to protect your financial information; hide your assets and avoid paying taxes on certain forms of income. The person or group wishing to maintain the optimum level in the way of asset protection is wise to look at Belize as an out-of-country; or offshore option (or financial center). In order to ―get the ball rolling‖ it is necessary you find a company that can assist you in opening up offshore; or out-of-country accounts within the Central American country. That said, you do not necessarily need to travel to Belize to effect the process of offshore or out-of-country incorporation. The goal is to protect your assets and maintain financial privacy: and establishing yourself within Belize will allow you to do it. Next, the important process of setting yourself up; or your company (up) within Belize is covered on a step-by-step basis. First, understand that most currency is accepted within the Central American nation (of Belize); in particular the American dollar. In order to open accounts it may become necessary to hire a company to help you do so. Also, there are some requirements you need to meet in order to establish an offshore presence within the country. Again, the next steps ―detail‖ the process of Belize establishment in the way of out-of-country incorporation. 1. Even though the idea of establishing an offshore account in Belize is privacy and asset protection, you are still required to open up the company in your name. This does not mean, however, your privacy will not be protected thereafter. Also, with respect to the initial requirement of opening the Belize company in your own name; you will need to supply identification that is valid. (With respect to the preceding: once your Belize company is formally registered (again) no one will be able to determine who actually owns it.) 51 2. Secondly, you can name a manager on the Belize company registration paperwork; however, their name will show as manager—not owner. In other words, it is not legal in Belize to register the company in another person's name. (Be fully advised of the (preceding) fact before you set up your offshore shop; or out-of-country presence within Belize.) In summation of point two (herein): The proper procedure is you open an international business company and it must be (formally) registered in the owner's name. However, different from other nations: there are no filings that need to be made on a public-basis. 3. Third, the requirement is you must set up a company with a name you assign within the country (of Belize). More clearly defined, what this means, if you have another company outside of Belize (for instance, the United Kingdom) and wish to use the name of that company or transfer it to Belize: you cannot do it. You will need to name the company (within this example inside the UK) to another name. That said, you can open up what is referred to as a shell international business company within Belize; and then change the name of the company at a later date. 4. Fourth, you will want to open up a bank account associated with your Belize international business company. The bank account name is also protected in case anyone attempts to locate you based on the name of your corporation. Several banking institutions are available to assist offshore or out-of-country companies to properly set up banking relationships or accounts. When it comes time to look for a bank account with respect to your international business company inside Belize, you will want to render the same discernment and thoughtfulness in the selection process as you would on domesticated soil. In other words, shop around and find out what each Belize banking establishment can offer you: the corporate consumer. Also, all that said, maintain in the back of your mind, the set up of a bank account within the Central American country is a separate circumstance from the set up of a Belize international business company. The set up of a Belize offshore or out-of-country business entity is not part of establishing a Belize bank account; and both (the Belize bank account setup; and the 52 establishment of the Belize IBC) must be viewed as two separate activities. Now that you are aware of the basic first steps in the setup of a Belize offshore or out-of- country presence, it may be properly concluded to some degree a primary reason persons choose Belize in order to conduct the preceding business setup and associated activities is to avoid paying tax on income. Further, within the Central American country (of Belize) there is no commercial tax. However that said, certainly there are fees associated with establishing an IBC inside of the country; as well as yearly fees—still, you will not be required to pay taxes. The preceding said, the next chapters provide you with a) information on BOPA (Belize Offshore Practitioners Association) as well as b) greater detail (or depth of understanding) (of) why Belize is a good choice for offshore; or out-of-country incorporation. 53 Chapter Thirteen: Understanding BOPA—Also Known as the Belize Offshore Practitioners Association Persons setting up an offshore presence within Belize will want to make certain they or their group become familiar with BOPA. The acronym stands for: Belize Offshore Practitioners Association, as indicated within the title of this chapter. The chapter provides you an introduction to BOPA so you are, at minimum, aware of the Association's objectives as it pertains to offshore organizations. BOPA, again referred to as the Belize Offshore Practitioners Association, was first created on st July 31 of 1995. The Association was established under the Belize Offshore Practitioners Association Act, Chapter 273. The association was set up as a corporate entity comprised of a management committee inclusive of an Association President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and a total of three Directors. The objectives (goals) of BOPA are ―detailed‖ (or more accurately outlined) within the following list: 1. The Association is set up to deal with situations that affect the interests of its members, the Association and the industry and to take action, accordingly; 2. BOPA promotes and protects its interests and the interests of its members. 3. The Association holds conferences, seminars, workshops, and meetings in order to inform and (better) educate its members on circumstances relative to the industry; 4. BOPA makes it its goal to institute measures as are proper and necessary in order to assure that 54 complete principles (rules) are set forth in the regulation of the operational aspect or component of industry inside of Belize; and that such rules are enforced. Also, the Association makes it its objective to take into consideration all questions relative to the industry; from its members. 5. The Association makes it an objective to advocate or oppose legislation within the country's National Assembly or other relative issues associated with the industry or which may impact or affect its member (base). 6. The Association makes it an objective (or activity) to compile and distribute industry-related information and statistics. 7. The Association will involve itself in the arbitration of trade-related disagreements (disputes) wherever and whenever it is appropriate to do so. 8. BOPA makes it a point to develop professional partnerships/associations with professional bodies other than its own, located within the country and in outside locations with the goal of better realizing the objectives of the Association. The preceding objective makes it possible to better encourage support on a localized, regional and global basis with professional organizations whose objectives are not (generally) inconsistent with that of BOPA (also, referred to as the Association (within this text.)) 9. The Association makes it a point to enter into certain partnerships and associated agreements with other professional bodies and organizations with the idea of advancing the industry (as a whole); and, at the same time protecting the interests of BOPA members. 10. BOPA subscribes to charities on the local level as well as on a country-wide basis; granting donations as it pertains to the good of the community (public). 11. The Association performs activities, accordingly, which are justified (within the eyes of BOPA) in order to further meet the objectives (goals) of the BOPA organization (as a whole). 55 (Author's Note: The preceding BOPA objectives are the interpretation of the writer; and not a verbatim rundown. In other words, the following content is similar and does not (hopefully) change the meaning of the Association's objectives (and goals); however, again, are not to be construed as the actual organizational content.) The preceding list is provided, so you (as reader) are aware of the organization of BOPA and its objectives relative to offshore incorporation within the Central American nation. 56 Chapter Fourteen: Why you Should Choose Belize for your Offshore Banking and Jurisdiction Many persons located within the continent of North America choose Belize as a preferred financial out- of-country center. The reason this is so, the Latin American country offers the North American resident many advantages. The following list sums up why Belize is a very popular choice pertinent to out-of- country banking; and as a tax haven. 1. Belize is independent; 2. English is the official language of the Central American country; 3. The legal aspect of Belize is based on the Common law of the British—so it is understandable to a good many North Americans; 4. There is no control over the exchange of currency inside the country; 5. The laws as to privacy are very strict and enforced within the Central American nation. This means, as investor; and offshore, or out-of-country entity, you can rest assured anyone within the country of Belize who breaks privacy laws can be punished by means of heavy fines and penalties; all the way up to imprisonment. 6. Double taxation treaties between Belize, the United States or Canada are non-existent. 7. The country of Belize has not agreed to or signed the United States' Mutual Legal Assistance treaty. (Note: The British Virgin Islands; and Belize are the two significant out-of-country financial centers who have not signed the U.S. Treaty.) 57 8. Communication with Belize is very realizable: Countries located on the North American continent (namely, Canada and the United States); and the Central American nation is most convenient in that Belize is close-by geographically-speaking, meaning (it is not located across the ocean) and again presents an official English-speaking tax haven. (The country is ideally located, too, only two hours from beautiful Cancun on the coast of the Caribbean.) Outside of the list of the preceding favorable factors, Belize's Supreme Court, in 1995 maintained the country's privacy laws when there was an attempt made to breach them. The breach was attempted by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. However, as already conveyed, their attempt proved futile. As of the year 2002, the Central American country has made it a commitment to improve upon the transparency of its regulatory and tax systems in the way of effective exchange of information with OECD nations. (OECD stands for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.) 58 Chapter Fifteen: A Review of What is Entailed in Belize Incorporation Chapter fifteen provides the reader with a review and a summary of what is entailed in the setup of an international business company inside Belize as well as restrictions. The chapter serves to make clear what is required; and what is to be avoided when establishing an out-of-country presence within the popular tax haven. International Business Company The setup of the Belize offshore company is considered an IBC or international business company. The incorporation procedure is: a registered agent makes delivery of the Articles of Association; and Memorandum of Association to the country's Registry along with the appropriate fee as to registration. Incorporation time Generally-speaking, it takes one day's time to set up offshore or out-of-country incorporation inside of Belize. Trading restrictions Offshore or out-of-country International Business Companies are not permitted to trade within the Central American nation; or own real property within the country's borders. Additionally, the out- of-country IBC is not permitted to conduct business activities pertaining to insurance; reinsurance, or active banking (that is outside of opening up a bank account and making deposits). 59 International Business Company powers within Belize The IBC inside of the country of Belize is afforded the same (legal) powers as the private individual. Requirement of registered office of IBC (International Business Company) A registered office is a requirement inside the country. The office must be maintained at the location of a management company that is licensed. Outside authorities are not made aware of (beneficial) ownership As conveyed in a preceding chapter, after registration of the IBC is complete; there are stiff fines and heavy penalties; up to imprisonment for those entities or individuals who break laws pertinent to privacy. No one in the nation is at liberty to disclose the fact you are the owner of a particular company. Issuance and authorization of capital shares The general or common share capital (authorized) is fifty-thousand United States dollars ($50,000). The capital can be divided into shares without or with par value. A convenience is the fact: share capital may be expressed in any (form of) currency. The minimum issue as to capital can be the equivalent of one share of par value; or one share of no-par value. 60 Classifications as to shares available Shares (registered); bearer shares; shares of par value; and shares with no par value; preferred shares; shares which are redeemable; and shares without voting rights as well as shares with voting rights are permitted or available. (Special note: The IBC with Bearer shares is required to keep the share certificates within the country; and at the Office of Registration.) Licensing fees with respect to incorporation inside Belize Companies with capital up to fifty-thousand United States dollars ($50,000) are required to pay a one-hundred dollar ($100.00) (licensing) fee. Companies with capital over the fifty-thousand U.S. Dollar mark pay a one-thousand dollar ($1,000.00) per year (licensing) fee. Companies which have some of their shares or all of their shares with no par value will pay a licensing fee of three-hundred fifty dollars ($350.00) on an annual-basis. No requirement as to the filing of audited financial statements There is no official requirement that audited financial statements be filed with official authorities. However the preceding said, you are required to maintain financial records that accurately reflect the financial position of the company. Freedom from taxation inside of Belize A great feature of out-of-country incorporation inside Belize is that your company is not required to pay any tax on global profits to Belize's taxing authority. 61 No double tax treaties have been signed by the country Another benefit of incorporation inside the Central American tax haven is that the country (as conveyed in a previous chapter) has not signed any Treaties with regard to double-taxation. 62 What we have to offer you As you may have guessed we have not compiled this report without some ulterior motive. Our business is to promote offshore packages and we believe that Belize is the place to be and we have the best company to help you get set up there. They do a great job at a very reasonable cost and have a division that is a bank so you get one stop shopping. We have included the required documentation to open what most FOREX and other investment dealers and brokers require. So here what’s included: 1.Certificate of Incorporation; including an additional notarized copy required to open most corporate trading accounts 2. Memorandum and Articles of Association; including an additional notarized copy required to open most corporate trading accounts 3. Certificate of Good Standing is issued by the Registry and notarized required to open most trading accounts 4. Certificate of Incumbency is an official document that is duly executed by the Registered Agent and notarized required to open most trading accounts 4. Resolution to appoint Director 5. Resolution to issue shares 6. Register of Director 7. Register of Shareholders 8. Share Certificates 9. Courier charges to have the final documents sent to you 10. A bank account if you wish with NO set up charges The total cost for the entire package mentioned above is just $575.00 this is well below what others are charging but we believe in providing our services at a fair value. You will deal directly with the registry and make all payments directly to them, not through us a middle man thus eliminating any concern you have about our credibility. 63 What you will be expected to provide our registry: The following are the documents and requirements required to begin the process to be establish an IBC in Belize. It may look daunting but our package includes most of the legal documents and the registry is willing to walk you through every step. As you are dealing with a reputable firm they have standards to uphold and are required to conduct their due diligence. With regard to formation of Belize IBC, we request that the attached IBC application be duly completed, executed and return to us along with due diligence and payment. Due diligence includes the following: 1. Notarized color Passport Copy of your Face Page and Signature Page 2. Two Reference Letters from a Bank with whom you have relationship for at least 1 ½ years. The letters should include the following information: a. date the account was opened; b. type of business the individual has with the bank (checking, savings, loan, CD, Credit Card, etc); c. the average balance kept in the account; and d. any other information that shows that the account has been handled to the bank’s satisfaction. If unable to obtain two Bank reference letters, then you may provide one bank reference letter and one character reference letter. The Character Reference letter should come from a prominent member in the community and should include the following: a. length of time the person knows you; and b. what capacity and any other related useful information. 3. Letter indicating the nature/activity of the company ( if this is included in the application form you do not need to provide the letter) 4. Copy of utility bill showing the residential address Due diligence applies to beneficial owner, director and shareholder. If all the documents are in order the processing turnaround time can be as little as 48 hours. 64 What you will be expected to provide to open a back account: With regard to opening an account for an IBC , we recommend a Demand Deposit Account (DDA). A DDA is a corporate account that will be opened in the name of the IBC. DDA forms you need to complete and return via fax followed by mailing the originals are: 1.Application for Bank Account Corporate; 2. Banking and Signing Resolution of Directors; 3. Anticipated Activity for New Accounts - this form must be completed with a detailed description of the activities of the company; 4. Signature Record; 5. Operation and Verification of Account Agreement - each page must be initialed by the account holder and all signatories; 6. Application for Corporate Online Banking; 7. Credit Card Application; 8. Credit Card Payment Authorization - optional; and 9. Credit Card Indemnity for account in company name. The time line to establish a bank account can be as short as 1 week. What’s the next step ? If you want further information just enter your name and email address on this link and we will send you the website of the our registry, the initial registration form and a comparison of costs and details on IBC’s from Belize, Panama, Seychelles and the British Virgin Islands. There is no pressure and we will never , ever sell , share or use your email address for anything else. 65
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