Tax-free, relaxed and beautiful
Belize is moving onto the radar screens of emigrating Brits thanks to its
generous retirement programme and relaxed pace of life.
persons incentive programme allows expatriates to live in the
central American country tax-free, as long as they meet a number of
They include being at least 45 years of age and having a qualifying
non-Belizean based income of at least US$2,000 (£1,300) a month.
Foreigners already make up almost 60 per cent of the population, attracted by
the low cost of living, slow-paced lifestyle, nature and water sports.
Belize is home to the world’s second-largest barrier reef.
Property is also affordable. Luke Smith, managing director of UK-based Crystal
Investment and Real Estate (www.investmentandrealestate.com),
said: "Ambergris Caye is the most popular place for retirees and other
expats to live in Belize. It offers the beauty of the Caribbean in a fairly
compact, accessible package. You can dive, snorkel, swim and fish to your
"Brits are among the most popular nationality to retire in Belize. It is
easy to purchase property, especially since Belize laws and legal systems
are patterned after the British system and business is conducted in English.
The visa system is also very simple and straightforward.’’
Under the retirement scheme, foreigners are free from taxes on all income
derived from sources outside Belize, whether such income is earned or
passive, and whether or not it is remitted to Belize.
Although it is not necessary to be retired, those moving to the country must
be aged at least 45 and have adequate resources to deposit a monthly income
of $2,000 or more a month - which would typically be pension income or
However, the Belize Tourist Board (www.travelbelize.org)
has accepted that since many expats do not have pensions, they can make a
single $24,000 deposit once a year or pay it in monthly installments.
On top of the tax benefits, qualifying expats can also import a specified
amount of personal and household goods as well as a car or boat, without
having to pay import duties or other taxes on goods, up to the value of
Belize-based international property guru Macarena Rose (www.macarenarose.com)
said: "The British always have found Belize a lateral move from the UK
and in the past 18 months, I have seen a rise in British expats coming in to
buy to live. Prior to this, they were buying second homes and investment
View a picture gallery of Belize luxury homes here.