Safe and Free: The Best Place in the World for Sovereign Living

There's a tiny tropical paradise on the Western edge of the Caribbean that is the new land of opportunity for the sovereign individual... a new frontier for living, investing and doing business. In this beachside paradise, the water is so clear, you can see the nooks and crannies of the reef 20 feet below. Tropical breezes blow, the sun always shines, and the friendly locals greet you like they've known you your entire life.

Even better, this is a land where the money you make is yours, not the tax man's. In Belize, your assets belong to you and you alone.

The Fastest Growing Tax Haven in the World

Belize has been working at a breakneck pace to eliminate taxes and reduce bureaucracy to build its foundation as an attractive financial center for global investors. Not only that, they are passing laws to protect individual liberty, financial privacy, and residency programs -- all of which make Belize one of the fastest growing tax havens in the world. While most havens only promote certain structures, like offshore corporations or banking, Belize has embraced every single aspect of international offshore law. Not only are they the fastest growing, they're also one of the most independent in the world.

A former British Colony, Belize has been completely independent for over 20 years. What makes it even more attractive, besides the perfect climate, is one of the best and most protective international trust laws around. They've eliminated the statute of frauds, as well as the rules against perpetuities; a trust there can be up to 150 years in length. Banking in Belize ensures you and your heirs will be protected from the arsenal of state tax-attacks on your family's wealth.  

But that's only the beginning. When you set up one of several available types of offshore corporations, you won't pay any taxes of any kind. That's right. Zero. That includes protective cell companies, which insulate one business from another within the same corporate shell.  The corporate form is very liberal, too, allowing for just a single shareholder, registered in your corporation's books, or held in bearer form. Companies are quick and easy to set up and administer. Even better, mutual and hedge funds can be started and operated internationally from Belize, along with other more specialized entities like international banks and insurance companies.

Despite the fact that the OECD has been cracking down hard on havens from the Caribbean to Switzerland, Belize has aggressively resisted pressure from OECD countries to curb its offshore activities -- something dependent territories like the Caymans have already given into. The country's tough resistance is bringing a lot of business their way: last year alone, the number of offshore companies registered in Belize surpassed 21,000, making Belize the third most popular place to incorporate offshore.

How to Live the Tax-Free Good Life

There are two simple ways to enjoy the benefits of Belizean residency. They've extended their liberal offshore company philosophy directly to qualified investors, retirees and businessmen. So no matter what your net worth is, you have easy access to Belize's citizenship and qualified permanent residence (ORP) programs.

The first citizenship program, called Economic Citizenship, is a fast-track program indeed. You get both a certificate of citizenship and a passport for a one-time payment of $50,000, along with around $20,000 in professional fees (see the sidebar, next page).  If you don't have a criminal record and can support yourself financially, your residency application will be processed in 30 to 40 days. After that, you're sworn in as a citizen of Belize, and your new passport makes you privy to visa free-travel to over 90 countries in the world.  This program is unfortunately being eliminated and may not be available to investors by the time this article goes to press.

Belize also has a second individual residency program available. This recently passed retirement legislation is designed to attract qualified permanent residents -- quickly, easily, and inexpensively. All you have to do is show you have $24,000 in annual income to support yourself, and that you can spend at least two weeks per year in Belize (as if the weather weren't reason enough). Do these two simple things, and you qualify. If you're living abroad already, particularly if you're a PT, you'll enjoy the following perk: your permanent residence status can be used to minimize your tax liability in the U.S. (up to $76,000), and in Canada, which is unlimited, providing you actually “live” outside your home country.

This program also allows for the tax-free import of cars, boats, planes and household goods, free of any Belize tax.  Coupled with potential tax exemptions in your home country, it may be possible to legally avoid all taxes of any kind... achieving the perfect balance of income tax relief, personal asset protection, and estate planning.

In the current haven climate, where many are under fire and buckling under pressure from the world's Superpowers, it's time to take advantage of what could be the safest and most secure haven on the planet. As more of us are searching for our Shangri-La -- a truly free place to live, work and retire -- Belize's entire offshore financial framework makes it the best frontier for sovereign living.
Copyright 2002 Nagel & Associates, LLC