flag Belize Belize: Investing

FDI in Figures

FDI inflows in Belize have been volatile and low for several years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Belize saw a significant decrease in FDI in 2020. According to the UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2021,  FDI inflows decreased from USD 94 million in 2019 to USD 76 million in 2020. However, there have been some significant investments made in the country in recent years, including a new cruise ship docking facility at Port Coral, an investment of USD 67 million made by the Panamanian company 'Intercoastal Marine' , which should be done by the end of 2021. The FDI stock reached USD 2.4 billion in 2020. Tourism attracted most FDI due to the country's geographical position in the Gulf of Honduras and the development of ecotourism. Brazil, the U.S., Guatemala and Central American countries are Belize’s primary investors. The government encourages investment in agriculture, agro-processing, aquaculture, light manufacturing, food processing and packaging, tourism, tourism-related industries, business process outsourcing (BPOs), and renewable energy. Export-orientated businesses operating in less developed areas also receive preferential treatment.

According to the World Bank's last Doing Business Ranking, published in 2020, the country ranked 135th out of 190 countries, losing ten spots compared to the previous year. Nevertheless, the country showed improvements for investors, as Belize made getting electricity simpler and faster, and also made trading across borders easier by enhancing its risk-based management system. Belize encourages foreign investment, perceived as a way to relieve fiscal pressure and diversify its economy. A variety of investment incentives are offered by the Government of Belize, and they have recently made trading across borders easier by enhancing its risk-based management system. Also, Belize has no restrictions on foreign ownership or control of companies. The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (Beltraide) is the investment and export promotion agency, and it promotes FDI through a series of incentive packages. The country features a relatively qualified working force, political stability, its proximity with the USA and being anglophone. However, Belize is a small market, lacking competitivity with other central American countries due to a high cost of doing business there. Investors also complain about the lack of transparency, land insecurity, red tape and corruption. The country must improve access to credit, protect minority investors and resolve insolvency to become a more attractive investment opportunity. The EU listed Belize as a "non-cooperative jurisdiction for tax purposes" due to not meeting good practice standards.

 

Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Belize Latin America & Caribbean United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 3.0 4.1 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 4.0 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 7.0 6.7 9.0 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action.

 
Foreign Direct Investment 201920202021
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 9476128
FDI Stock (million USD) 2,331.32,407.52,535.3
Number of Greenfield Investments* 1.00.01.0
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 1908

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

 

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Tax Rates

General sales tax (GST)
12.5% (standard rate of the General Sales Tax).

Zero-rated items include: exported goods and services; some food items for human consumption, water supply (other than bottled water) and some medicines and medical supplies for human use; some items and supplies for use in education; some supplies connected with agriculture, livestock, birds and fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

Exempt supplies of goods and services include: some financial services and gambling supply; some supply of goods and services by an educational institution within the meaning of the Education Act; medical, dental, hospital, optical and paramedical services, other than veterinary services and cosmetic surgery; supply of residential accommodation or accommodation in a hotel or similar establishment; public postal services, domestic public transport of passengers, lease of aircraft and maintenance services in connection with the supply of public air transport; international transport of passengers or goods; some supplies of services provided to diplomatic missions, international and regional organizations; goods and services provided to the Government of Belize.

Company Tax
25%
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 0/15%, Interests: 15%, Royalties: 15%.
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers
USD 4.02 per week per employee. Click here for more info.
Other Domestic Resources
Belize Tax Services
Overview of Belize's tax measures in response to Covid-19
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
 
 

Individual Taxes

Income tax Flat rate of 25%
•    for persons earning below BZD 26,000, personal relief is BZD 25,600
•    for persons earning between BZD 26,000.01 and BZD 27,000, personal relief is BZD 24,600
•    for persons earning between BZD 27,000.01 and BZD 29,000, personal relief is BZD 22,600
•    for persons earning BZD 29,000.01 and over, personal relief is BZD 19,600
 
 

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Belize Latin America & Caribbean United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 29.0 28.2 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 147.0 327.5 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 31.1 46.8 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Investment Opportunities

Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Inter-American Development Bank, Tenders in South America
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Setting Up a Company
Consult Doing Business Website, to know about procedures to start a Business in Belize.
Useful Resources
Belize Trade and Investment Development Services (BELTRAIDE
 

Business Setup Procedures

Setting Up a Company Belize Latin America & Caribbean
Procedures (number) 9.00 8.00
Time (days) 48.00 25.22

Source: Doing Business.

 
 
 

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Latest Update: May 2022