You need a business owner's work permit or residency first to register your business name in Belize City. Many businesses in San Pedro don't register their names in Belize City, they just get a San Pedro trade license. The flaw in that, is that someone on the mainland or on Caye Caulker can take your name. The fee for a San Pedro trade license is some obcure formula based on your rent (I think).
My business is on Caye Caulker, so I registered the name in Belize City (25 bz), and they asked me for a copy of my residency card, and a copy of the first page in my passport. Caye Caulker doesnt have business name registration, its all done in the city. Once I had the business name registration papers, I took them to the bank and opened a commercial checking account. I already had a personal savings account though, and had had one for more than a year, so I had an existing account.
I wouldn't even try to operate a business without the proper papers. If caught, Immigration can dump you over the border into Mexico and stamp your passport OTL (Ordered To Leave). Its been done, and it will happen to you, especially if you're competing IN ANY WAY with a Belizean or a resident.
On Caye Caulker, the Tax and Social Security officers come out to the island once a month, drive thru the island and visit new businesses checking papers.
Another note of caution, when I first opened the gallery I was searched by the fisheries department for black coral (no problem there, because I dont sell it, dont want to, dont like it) You have to have a license to work with it or to sell it.
Sales tax registration - for my business, we were tax exempt because everything is made in Belize and we import no art from Mexico, Guatemala or Cuba.
Plan on a $1000 bz deposit on each phone line, if you dont have existing service, and $1000 bzd deposit on electric service also. Also, plan on waiting 6 months to get a merchant account, or putting a $5,000 bzd deposit on the account for a year. Its just the cost of doing business, and establishing yourself. Bring lots of money.
But, if Wendy is your sister, she should know all of this.
--Silk http://www.caribbean-colors.com http://www.cybercayecaulker.com