Belize

Your Money

Dealing with your funds as a resident (or citizen) of Belize presents problems not encountered in Australia, Canada or New Zealand. Belize is centre for offshore banking and a jurisdiction favoured for offshore company and trust formations. It offers privacy and secrecy to users of such services although it does comply with such United Nations financial sanctions as may be in force. How the situation with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of the U.S.A. will ultimately work is still developing.

There are two kinds of banks in Belize. The local banks are those which deal with the needs of the local population so far as normal banking transactions are concerned. As a Qualified Retired Person visa holder it will be necessary to have an account with a local bank. Formal letters of introduction and character references are needed to open an account with a bank in Belize. Accounts in Belize banks are not insured and the other reason for keeping only a small amount of money in the country is the exchange control regime which severely limits the amoiunt that can be taken abroad. No restrictions apply to the earnings from business outside of Belize even where it is the result of work being done in the country by residents so far as local income tax is concerned.

Residents are prohibited from having accounts with the other kind of banks in Belize, the offshore banks. These banks trade upon the secrecy offered to their clients but they will not protect the identity of the owners of funds which are the proceeds of crimes.

An excellent summary of the banking systems of Belize was written by Lan Sluder. It is a chapter of his book "Easy Belize - How to Live, Retire, Work or Invest in Belize"which is well worth reading. A impression of the services offered by the local Belizean banks can be gained from the relevant web sites. The largest is the Belize Bank which is also the oldest bank. The Atlantic Bank is owned predominantly by a Honduran company, Sociedad Nacional de Inversiones, S.A. Formerly the Bank of Nova Scotia is the Scotia Bank. The First Caribbean International Bank was formed as a result of a merger between the Caribbean interests of Barclays Bank and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Some details of the fifth of the local banks, the Alliance Bank of Belize can be seen at this site but after being sold to Mexican and other Caribbean interests the bank's new name is yet to be announced.

Details of the banks and their services can be seen in the "Banking" section of the "Resources" tab on this site. Other links at the "Resources" tab on this site and the book "How to Retire in Belize" by Les Johns also cover these matters and the book can be bought directly from this site.

Pensions

It is likely that a pension or pensions will form the basis of the income requirements for Qualified Retired Persons. Proof that such income is assured or arrangements to have it paid to a Belizean bank will depend upon the organisations or countries responsible for paying the pension(s). The same comments are relevant here as were mentioned in the corresponding section for Australia.

Other Income

As a retiree it is unlikely that very much local income will be derived by you. Residents who are Qualified Retired Persons cannot take up local employment so all income must be derived abroad. The use of offshore bank accounts is essential. As is the case with respect to "Pensions" the comments made in the Australian section are relevant. Dealing with the Belizean offshore banks as a resident is not possible. Also as has been stated above Belize is a centre for offshore banking and company formations. These organisations may be of use to those resident in places other than Belize. They are mentioned in Banking section directly from this link or under the "Banking section of the "Resources" tab.

Also of value so far as pension and other income matters are concerned are the links at the "Resources" tab on this site and the book "How to Retire in Belize" by Les Johns which can be obtained from this site. Use of this book and the information and links given under the "Resources" tab will save intending retirees much research time.