Tax Compliance in Belize

Known for its diving spaces, Belize is one of the most desirable destinations for foreigners. Living in this country it is essential to understand the tax compliance of this beautiful country. Enterslice will walk you through everything you need to know about tax compliance in Belize. Package inclusions:..

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Overview of Tax Compliance in Belize

Today when countries are becoming stricter on their tax laws, Belize stands out as a safe tax haven ensuring privacy and asset protection. Before drafting its tax legislation. Belize consulted with professionals from several top safe havens to enable Belize to achieve a similar status. Belize came to the forefront of international financial services with the enactment of the International Business Companies Act, the Trusts Act and the Offshore Banking Act. Belize has adopted the “qualified permanent residence law” for retirees from other countries to enjoy a tax-free life. The Belize government is committed to privacy and a no-tax system. Companies establishing themselves in Belize are finding it advantageous to do business in Belize.

Belize is a country that welcomes foreigners. It has established foreign residency as per this, foreign residents pay no tax in Belize on non-Belize income. Belize follows an indirect taxation system through three main sources of income. These sources of income include trade-related taxes, tax on sales, and rates. Further, the direct tax is levied in the form of Income and Business Tax. For companies, industries and International Commercial Companies operating in Free Trade Zones specific legislation has been formed.

Types of taxes in Belize

Income Tax on Natural Persons

The legislation is applicable to income tax on natural persons and is settled by the Income and Business Tax Act under the supervision of the Income Tax Department. Income tax is applicable at the rate of 25% along with a general deduction of USD 50 for all taxpayers.  Apart from this, there is a possibility of deductions while calculating the tax base such as:

  1. Personal relief
  2. Charitable relief
  3. Education relief

The deadline for filing an income tax return is March 31st. Income less than USD 13000 per year is exempt from paying income tax.

Consumption Tax

Belize’s tax on sales is regulated by the General Sales Act. It is supervised by the Department of General Sales Tax. The value added to imports and other goods and services supplied by a company to another or to the end consumer is taxed at the rate of 12.5%. A taxable activity with annual business above USD 37,500 is obligated to obtain tax registration. The consumers pay tax solely on the final sale price even though the sales tax is calculated and charged on the transactions in the production and delivery chain. The tax paid by the registered person is compensated by the tax received from the end consumer. Where the amount of departure tax exceeds the entry tax, then the registered person has to use it for the purpose of future responsibilities. There are certain exemptions on taxes available.

Corporate tax

Corporate tax is levied under the Income and Business Tax Act. Apart from income tax, self-employed workers and companies pay Commercial Tax. Employees are, however exempt from paying it. Companies pay taxes on economic activities. It is levied on incomes above the following: USD 37,500 arising from company or commercial activity and USD 10,000 for self-employed people. Tax on company depends upon the type of company and it ranges from 0.75% to 25%. The income tax return is filed by the company at the rate of 25% of the profits above Belize’s $20,000. However, if the income tax is higher than the tax on economic activities then the excess income tax is exempted. If the company incurs losses then they can be converted into tax credits for the purpose of tax on economic activities and the losses are carried forward to a new account for 5 years. The companies involved in petroleum products pay tax at the rate of 40% payable quarterly.

Environmental Tax

An environmental tax at the rate of 2% is levied on the CIF value of all imported goods. However, medicines and some food items are exempted.

Hotel Tax

Hotel Tax is levied at the rate of 9% on all accommodation charges and is paid monthly to the Belize Tourism Board.

Land Tax

A tax at the rate of 1% is levied on the value of land. Land Tax is paid to the Department of Lands.

Property Tax

Property tax is applicable at a rate depending upon the municipality in which the property is situated. In Belmopan a rate of 2% is applicable and in Belize City a rate of 2.5%.

Stamp Duty or Transfer Tax

Stamp duty or Transfer tax is applicable at the rate of 5% to transactions on property valued at more than USD 10,000.

Excise Tax

Excise tax is imposed on domestically manufactured alcohol, beer, cigarettes, and soft drinks.

Import Duty and Revenue Replacement Duty

The tax rates vary from 0% to 40% depending upon the products being imported. Products that attract Revenue Replacement Duty have a 5% to 40% tax rate.

IRIS Belize

IRIS which stands for Integrated Revenue Information System is an online taxpayer portal for the Belize tax system. IRIS Belize is a government portal that provides Easy, Effortless and Efficient Tax Services for everyone. One has to register on this portal to file a tax return. The Tax Administration and Procedure Act empowers the Director General of the Belize Tax Services Department to specify the manner in which the tax return is required to be filed. From 1st April 2023 onwards the Director General requires all taxpayers to file tax returns and pay all taxes via the IRIS Belize online portal. The Belize Tax Services Department will no longer accept tax payments. It will only be accepted through the online portal.

Who files taxes in Belize?

Belize’s tax system is based on the territorial principle. Individuals are only taxed to the extent their income arises in Belize. Apart from this, there can be individuals who are required to file taxes in Belize. If you’re a resident of Belize and have a taxable income arising within the country, then such individuals are required to file a tax return if your income exceeds an annual threshold. Non-residents who earn income from employment or business activities or those who earn rental or investment income from Belizean sources in Belize are also required to file a tax return. Apart from this, certain other categories of individuals who are required to file taxes in Belize irrespective of their income level are:

  1. Directors or officers of Belizean company.
  2. Individuals who receive dividends or other contributions from Belizean companies.
  3. Individuals who own property in Belize.
  4. Individuals who are beneficiaries of trust established in Belize.

Further, the Belize government requires you to report certain information to the Belizean tax authorities even if you’re not required to file taxes.

How to register an account on IRIS Belize online portal?

Step 1: Click on “Register an account” on the IRIS Belize portal

Visit the IRIS Belize portal by clicking here. Then click on the “Register an account” option. An online form will appear.

Step 2: Fill out the online registration form

Start filling in the required details in the online registration form. After filling up the details a request for verification is done. After this, the application can create ID password and submit it. A confirmation email is sent to the email id. On confirming the same, the registration is complete.

Step 3: Contact Belize Tax Service

The next step is to contact Belize tax services to link your account to your online profile.

How to file a tax return on the online portal?

Step 1: Click Return Menu to file a return

After linking your account with the IRIS Belize Online portal. Login to the portal by entering the email id and password. Click on the return menu available to file a return. Select the type of business you operate in. Then click on the “Start Button” action link. Review the details of the return then press save and continue.

Step 2: Return Overview

To complete this section click on “Enter Revenue from Trade, Business or Profession”. On the form enter the correct details under the field that relates to your business type. The online form will automatically calculate the tax amount.

Step 3: Enter Return Details

Any monthly adjustment, if required should be done on this page. When there are no other adjustments to make, click on the “save and continue” button.

Step 4: Upload Documents

In this part, all the Documents which support detailed supply in your return have to be uploaded.

Step 5: Review and Submit

Check the summary of all details entered and check the details. If all the details are correct, then agree to the declaration and submit it. On submission, the tax return has been filed.

Step 6: Payment Overdue

After the tax return has been filed, the payment overdue appears on the screen along with any penalties, additional payment, etc. Then you have to click on the “Pay Now” button and make a payment using any online banking services of your choice. Payment status can be checked on the portal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tax compliance help in avoiding penalties, gives access to government schemes and benefits, helps in financial planning, optimizes tax efficiency, etc.

IRIS stands for the Integrated Revenue Information System.

The Belize Tax Service Department is responsible for ensuring filing of tax returns and payment of tax online.

31st March is the filing date of the Income Tax Return in Belize.

Yes, a penalty at the rate of 3% of the balance of the tax due for a month or a part of the month for which the return is later. Subject to a condition that it should be a minimum of $ 10.00.

Yes, Belize is a part of several Double Tax treaties and Tax Information Exchange Agreements with countries. In addition to this, it is also a part of the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty related to measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting.

Enterslice offers a variety of services related to tax and regulation at a global level. We determine who is responsible to pay taxes. We assist in the calculation of the taxes and timely filing of tax returns. We advise of tax-related issues and ensure that our client does not attract any penalty.

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