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Tax Question #208129
08/17/01 07:19 PM
08/17/01 07:19 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 154
Baton Rouge, La., USA
BillandJeanne Offline OP
BillandJeanne  Offline OP
If we were to move to Belize as permanent residents, with a supportive trust fund, and open a business...what are the taxes like? Would we get totally screwed??

Re: Tax Question #208130
08/17/01 09:19 PM
08/17/01 09:19 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,054
Asheville, NC USA
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Lan Sluder/Belize First  Offline
Not sure what a "supportive trust fund" is but assuming that this means that you have bucks coming from the U.S., what you'd face in Belize is:

1) No Belize tax at all from income from outside Belize (including income from your trust fund)

2) On income generated in Belize, personal income tax maxed out at 25% (no tax on first US$10,000 in income)

3) On Belize business income, you'd pay a gross receipts tax, which varies from under 1% to 25% of revenues, depending on the type of business.

4) Assuming you made money, as one of the relaively few Belizean residents who actually made money and had to pay tax, your records would be subject to close scrutiny, far closer than in the U.S.

5) No capital gains or inheritance tax, but there's a 10% property exchange tax for non-citizens and you'd have to collect and pay 8% sales tax if your busineses were of any size.

... but consult your tax advisor, attorney or accountant before acting on this advice!

--Lan Sluder

Lan Sluder/Belize First
Re: Tax Question #208131
08/17/01 10:37 PM
08/17/01 10:37 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 154
Baton Rouge, La., USA
BillandJeanne Offline OP
BillandJeanne  Offline OP
Thanks Lan!
You are THE MAN!
LAN THE MAN! Ha Ha...Like you've never gotten that!

Re: Tax Question #208132
08/18/01 04:29 PM
08/18/01 04:29 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 713
Fremont, CA, USA
susangg Offline
susangg  Offline
I would elaborate on what Lan said: You need to consult tax accountants in both countries. US based accountants (and tax attorneys) don't have a clue about Belizean tax laws and vice versa. I have also found that Belizean attorneys are not (as in the US) the best sources on tax regulations, accountants are.
We are doing some of the same research and it seems to me that you need an accountant from both countries to advise you because you are dealing with tax regs in both countries and you definitely need an immigration-savvy attorney in Belize.
Also, some of the laws in Belize are so new that there are no binding rulings or cases interpreting them, and its therefore somewhat iffy how they will be interpreted on some of these issues. This is especially so with respect to the qualified retired persons' act. It's not clear, for example, whether you are disqualified from eligibility if you have income-earning property in Belize. Some say yes, some say no, and some say the government may yet enact more regulations to clarify this issue.
I am not sure if there is a procedure for getting an advisory opinion from the appropriate ministry but that would be something I would want to ask the Belizean attorney or tax accountant about if I were you. It might protect you down the road if you got the go ahead and then suddenly were told years later that you had broken the law or were supposed to have paid more taxes, etc. But then again, it might not....

Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email: [email protected]

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