Starting a Business in


Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Belize. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 189 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2015.

Compare Belize to 188 other economies.

  • Standardized Company

  • Legal form: Limited Liability Company
  • Paid-in minimum capital requirement: BZD 5
  • City: Belize City
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Conduct a name search at the Companies’ Registry
Agency: Companies' Registry

The entrepreneur must travel to Belmopan, the capital, to visit the Companies’ Registry and request a computerized name search of all existing Belizean company names, which takes a few minutes to complete as is free of charge. A request can also be done by e-mail, telephone or fax at a fee of BZD 50.
1 day no charge
2 Register company statutes, memorandum and articles of association at the Companies’ Registry
Agency: Companies' Registry

The company must register its statutes, memorandum, and articles of association at the Companies’ Registry. The applicable fees are BZD 500 for the certificate of compliance, BZD 10 for filing, BZD 50 for registration, BZD 12 (each) for registering the statutes, the memorandum, and articles of association, and BZD 13 for registering the directors to act on the company’s behalf. The fees are paid directly at the Companies’ Registry.

According the Companies Act, a company can be formed with one director and one shareholder. In case of one or more directors each director must initially subscribe to at least one share, and for practical purposes, each share is worth BZD 1. For a company with 5 directors, therefore, in practice, the minimum start-up capital is BZD 5.

The documentation must include the following:
- Identification for all directors and their representatives, if applicable.
- Company statutes.
- Memorandum and articles of association.
2 days see procedure comments.
3 Submit application to City Council for a trade license
Agency: City Council

The application prompts the City Council to send an inspector to visit the site. Although there are only four city council inspectors in Belize City, the inspector will usually arrive the next day.

The documentation to submit an application for trade license shall include:
- Certificate of compliance from the Companies’ Registry (obtained in Procedure 2).
- Proof of residency.
1 day no charge
4 Receive inspection from City Council inspector
Agency: City Council

The city council inspector arrives, inspects, and submits findings to the council’s trade license board. By law, the board must meet every 3 months, but in practice, it meets every 2 weeks to manage the high volume of trade license applications. At the end of the deliberation, the determination and assessment notice (25% of the inspector's assessed annual rental income of the business premises) will be couriered to the entrepreneur. About 2 days after the trade license board’s decision and the entrepreneur’s payment, the license will be hand delivered to the entrepreneur at no additional charge.
20 days no charge
* 5 Pay for the trade license at the City Council
Agency: City Council

Parties take the assessment notice to the City Council and pay 25% of the annual rental value of the premises, according to the inspector’s assessment.
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) 25% of the annual rental value of the business premises
6 Make a company seal
Agency: Seal Maker

The company must make a company seal. This can be done at any stationary store and costs between BZD 50 and BZD 200, depending on whether it is rubber or embossed.
2 days BZD 50-200
7 Register the company for business tax at the income tax department
Agency: Income tax department

The founders must register the company with the income tax authorities before starting business, by presenting a relevant certificate of compliance. The company receives the tax number in about 1 to 2 weeks. Operations may begin at this time but the company must withhold the taxes payable. Failure to do so results in penalties and interest payable.
10 days BZD 150
* 8 Register the company for general sales tax (GST) at the GST office
Agency: GST office

The business must register with the general services tax authorities before starting business, presenting a relevant certificate of compliance. However, final registration will not be confirmed until a few weeks later. Operations can begin during this time, but the company must withhold the taxes payable. Failure to do so results in penalties and interest payable.
17 days on average (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
* 9 Register the employees with the Social Security Board
Agency: Social Security Board

All employees must be registered with the social security authorities. Confirmation of registration will take a few months. Operations can begin in the meantime, but deductions must be taken during this time.
2 days (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
  * Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.

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