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taxes, food, cars, roads, healthcare, internet, weather, etc.

Hello all.
I work online and am self-employed. All my income is from U.S. company and we receive 1099 at tax time. I have heard we can become a offshore corporation and move to Belize and the first US$100,000 is not taxed. My question is are any of you familiar with the tax laws and what about income taxes in Belize? Would we owe any being self-employed with no actual income from any Belize entity?

Another question is do people drive everywhere in Belize? I'm not sure if there are roads everywhere which handle car and truck traffic. Is there car and truck traffic on Ambergris Caye? Is it cheaper to buy a vehicle there (probably used) than to bring my 2002 Chevy pickup bluebook valued under US$5000? I've heard they have a hefty tax/fee to bring a vehicle in to the country.

Are there large well-stocked grocery stores?

Does anyone know what private healthcare would cost at the private hospitals there? I would rather get away without having to buy health insurance but my wife has a blood clot issue (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and I'm not sure if the medical care without separate insurance plan covers such medical issues. I have arthritis and screwed up neck spinal discs and need an expensive nerve block shot at least once a year unless I want to live with the pain. Any idea who I would call to check costs of suck procedures?

How often and for what duration does the internet go out? We need to be able to regularly transfer large files to our clients as well as receive, all our business is done this way. If a textbook has to go to the printer on a certain day, we have to be able to send the files on time. I hope if we lose our home office internet temporarily, there is somewhere in Belize close enough to take our computer and send files using alternate internet connection. I hear Ambergris Caye will have fiber optic internet this year which would be great to access if we can afford to live on Ambergris Caye.

Do you need air conditioning at home every day? We have to worry about our computers overheating which unfortunately is easier to happen than it is to humans. Do old and new houses have central air or individual room units? How much does air conditioning increase the sale price of a house? Where can I find land lot prices and availability if I want to contract with the Mennonites or similar builders for a new home?

I'm sure I'll have more questions soon but I think this is enough for now. Thank you everyone for reading and I hope someone might have some answers to help us get started on a new chapter in life.

Terry

Hello Terry;
Welcome to the Belize Forum. I mean no disrespect with this comment, but you should know. You have asked quite a few unrelated questions in this one thread. A review of the "Forum Code of Conduct" might be in order. There you will find that we ask members to ask one specific question per thread. You may create as many threads a focused question as you like. This is for two reasons.

First, it benefits other members (present and future) to search and find focused answers to specific questions when they search a topic. This will make the forum a better resource for everyone.

Second, it will help you to get the information that you are looking for. For example when someone sees this thread, if they can only respond to one of your seven queries, they may just move on, and you and other members will lose the benefit of that experience. if it is in it's own thread people will be more like to respond. Just Human nature, I am more likely to answer 6 shorter focused posts, but will usually move away from something this involved (and I am one the people that tries to be as helpful as possible). Anyway something to consider.

That been said, I will do my best to answer these based on my experience one at a time;

Terrymcq :

Hello all.
I work online and am self-employed. All my income is from U.S. company and we receive 1099 at tax time. I have heard we can become a offshore corporation and move to Belize and the first US$100,000 is not taxed. My question is are any of you familiar with the tax laws and what about income taxes in Belize? Would we owe any being self-employed with no actual income from any Belize entity?

This is a question beyond the scope of most retirees. One of the things you should know about Belize is that while there are rules and regulations for everything, they are enforced at the discretion of the individual you are dealing with (at that time). So that means regulations are really only guidelines and two people with the exact same situation will have different requirements and will experience different results. Then factor in any unique situation that you may have, or that the rule may be interpretted differently when you return and see a different official, there is probably no one answer to your questions regarding offshore corperations or tax exemptions. My personal advice would be to not expect someone elses experience to be yours. IMHO these are questions that should be taken to a lawyer in Belize during one of your sandals in the sand due diligence excursions.

I can tell you that if you work for clients outside of Belize, are paid to a company outside of Belize, and do not perform any work that would take a job from a Belizean, as your situation appears to be, then you will not pay income tax to the Belize Government.

I hope this helps.

Someone replied your car cannot be older than three years, but I would double check.  Your income tax from the US is not taxed.

Thanks for the information Bill. I guess I better look for those forum posting rules and read them. If I could , I would break up my questions to satisfy the rules but I see now at the bottom of this page I only have 1 hour to edit. Sorry for the rookie screw-ups.
I will talk to accountant here and look for a tax lawyer in Belize when the time comes.
Thanks for hopefully keeping me out of forum decorum trouble I hope.

Thank you for the info. To be sure I understand, I cannot bring a vehicle older than 3 years into Belize? I sure hope they sell older vehicles than that in Belize because I can't afford a 2-year-old car....unless maybe it's been in a demolition derby.

Could you tell me how and where to find "Forum Code of Conduct"? I looked under "Terms and Conditions" but I don't Forum Code of Conduct.
Thank you

Terrymcq :

Another question is do people drive everywhere in Belize? I'm not sure if there are roads everywhere which handle car and truck traffic. Is there car and truck traffic on Ambergris Caye? Is it cheaper to buy a vehicle there (probably used) than to bring my 2002 Chevy pickup bluebook valued under US$5000? I've heard they have a hefty tax/fee to bring a vehicle in to the country.

There are two short answers to this question "do people drive everywhere in Belize?", the first is yes and the second is no. In our case we do not own a vehicle and it is one of the benefits for us living in Belize. For most day to day things we can take a taxi to town and walk around from there. A taxi costs us Bz$2.00 (US$1.00)/person. Far more economical than just the maintenance for a car on Belize roads. There are local planes that service larger centers if that is in your budget, also busses that can get you from most places to most places that are farther away, not comfortable but economical and effective depending on you comfort level.

There is car and truck traffic on Ambergris Caye. But the real answer to your question might be more involved. Most North American style vehicles are used for commercial purposes like construction vehicles, delivery vehicles, and taxis. Golf carts, motorcycles, and bicycles are the preffered mode of transportation for those that don't just walk. IMHO it would not be worth bringing a Chevy PU to ambergris Caye. My understanding is that duties are less on vehicles over 10 years old, but it would either have to be driven here or shipped. If shipped the import duty would be charged on the value of the vehicle in Belize (not the US bluebook value) plus the cost of shipping would be added to that value to determine the import tax. It would then have to be shipped to the island on a barge. Parts would have to be first imported into the country and then shipped to the island. I personnally would buy local and a brand where parts would be readily available here, and probably not a car on the caye. You might be surprised at the many variations you can get a golf cart in. Here is a link to a video about the cars in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. Read the discription for additional information.

It is one of two residency options, here is more information on the two options atthis link

I hope this helps.

Terrymcq :

Could you tell me how and where to find "Forum Code of Conduct"? I looked under "Terms and Conditions" but I don't Forum Code of Conduct.
Thank you

Click on the FORUM tab at the top of the page. It will be the second of the two pinned posts. Thank you for asking and following up. Here is the link http://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=192480

Terrymcq :

Thanks for the information Bill. I guess I better look for those forum posting rules and read them. If I could , I would break up my questions to satisfy the rules but I see now at the bottom of this page I only have 1 hour to edit. Sorry for the rookie screw-ups.
I will talk to accountant here and look for a tax lawyer in Belize when the time comes.
Thanks for hopefully keeping me out of forum decorum trouble I hope.

While the rules are important to different people for different reason, my focus is to help you to get the information that you need.

Thank you again for your help, very important information. I live out in corn country and the nearest place to get a gallon of milk is 8 miles away while a full grocery is over 15 miles away. It would be great to not need a car, maybe get a golf cart, and walk off a little desk job fat (that's what I get for quitting construction 11 years ago). Ideally, I would like to find a few acres just outside of a town or city where I could turn up music while working outside, maybe building additions to a small prefab Mennonite house I hope we can afford in a year or so after moving there. I haven't seen properties like what I'm looking for there yet, not the land, not the size house (I'd like to have at least 1,500 sq.ft. living space), not the price. Income keeps making us compromise. I have a lot to research and learn before I can make this move happen.

Terrymcq :

Thank you for the info. To be sure I understand, I cannot bring a vehicle older than 3 years into Belize? I sure hope they sell older vehicles than that in Belize because I can't afford a 2-year-old car....unless maybe it's been in a demolition derby.

You cannot bring a car more than three years old into Belize under the QRP program. There are several previous threads of people sharing their experience of bringing older cars into Belize either driving or by shipping. Import duty percentages are based on age, number of cylinders,etc. That percentage is then applied to the value of the vehicle. The value is determined on the value of the vehicle in Belize (not the blue book) and if shipped, the cost of shipping will be added to determine the vehicles total value for import tax purposes.

This was in my previous comment and why I mentioned the QRP Program, but somehow I deleted it.
lol, user error, the problem is always somewhere between the keyboard and the chair.

I am the loose nut behind the key

Perhaps just stating the obvious, but if you are remote, a vehicle is crucial. And if you want to get to remote areas regularly, I would say it's also wise. We are in monkey River, and to get a charter to Mango Creek (stores), a charter or taxi is between 60 and 100. Rental cars are super pricey here.

Removed duplicate response.

Are you saying it costs $60 to go to the grocery store? How far a trip is it each way and are you paying according to time or distance?

Well, let's clarify that's $60 bze. And yes. It's only about 15 miles, but 12 of those are on a really, really rough road. So, that usually gets you 2-3 hours in town. Mostly you're paying for the wear and tear of the road. Also, gas is $10 bze a gallon, and most of the vehicles that will survive this road get crappy gas mileage. So, we have an 02 Jeep Cherokee Laredo, and it costs us $25-30 for each trip.  So, 60 really isn't unreasonable.

So you're saying live close to or in town?

" The value is determined on the value of the vehicle in Belize (not the blue book) ..."

OUTSTANDING !!!!    Rolling up in a rusty, 22 year old, 300,000 mile, 4 door Ford pickup that eats a lot of fuel--->they might owe me  :lol:

jay

Mine is 15 years old and doesn't rust much because, well, it's a Chevy. But I'd just be happy to have it there and only use it when necessary than to give it up back here. I wonder what full coverage insurance costs in Belize?

jracer98 :

" The value is determined on the value of the vehicle in Belize (not the blue book) ..."

OUTSTANDING !!!!    Rolling up in a rusty, 22 year old, 300,000 mile, 4 door Ford pickup that eats a lot of fuel--->they might owe me  :lol:

jay

Actually when you look at the import duty table, gas guzzlers have the highest import duty rate.
With gas currently at just over $5 US per gallon, you might want to reconsider.

That truck has towed race cars to tracks all over America without complaint. It just has one more job to do. After it hauls my boat to Hopkins, she can die on the beach.  :top:

jay

jracer98 :

That truck has towed race cars to tracks all over America without complaint. It just has one more job to do. After it hauls my boat to Hopkins, she can die on the beach.  :top:

jay

Well hello fellow racer!  :D    I raced in SCCA and IMSA for about 12 years a few decades back. When not running my own car, I was crewing  for others, or Flagging SCCA, IMSA, NASCAR, F1, Indy Car races on road courses up/down the Left Coast, Canada, and even a F1 race at Silverstone in the UK. One year I spent 32 weekends at a race track. I guess you could say my full time job supported my racing addiction.  :o

As covered in other threads, one can get a 90 day tourist exception on the import duty. At the end you have to take the truck back out or pay the duty. I don't know if you could junk it out in a wrecking yard, or sell it across the border in a neighboring county.....just a thought.

"I guess you could say my full time job supported my racing addiction.  :o "

Damn peculiar feeling to walk into the shop and there not be any cars, no engines, no big roller tool boxes, no trailer, etc.

It was a "What the hell are you doing?" moment....

You may recognize this track. Enjoy the 5.0 Thunderbird at the 2016 14 Hours of Daytona. Notice that we sync'd video from our incar with some from another team's incar to create some "back and forth" change of perspective.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eYDdpHzIJ8

jay

So how long could one stay in Belize with a Newer 2015 Truck and a Travel trailer without all the Tariffs or does the Government charge visitors or part timers these outrageous tariffs as well?

Where do I find out what it might cost to bring in a 2002 Silverado extended cab with 6.5 foot bed and about 120,000 miles with hail damage?

Terrymcq :

Where do I find out what it might cost to bring in a 2002 Silverado extended cab with 6.5 foot bed and about 120,000 miles with hail damage?

The duties and associated fees are listed on this site: http://www.customs.gov.bz/rate_motor_vehicles.html

Thanks Brigitte

Rkenehan :

So how long could one stay in Belize with a Newer 2015 Truck and a Travel trailer without all the Tariffs or does the Government charge visitors or part timers these outrageous tariffs as well?

You can stay as long as you want. But, after two extensions of your 30 day visitor permit, you will likely be asked to import your vehicle.

Very good info so two months is a decent vacation. I am only 43  my plan was to set up a residency or down the road a dual citizenship scenario. Thank you Robert.

To Rkenehan.

Just a thought " down the road a dual citizenship scenario."
At current rates of times you will be lucky to get to that scenario in 10 years time.
One year in country  ( only allowed to leave Belize for a total of 14 days in that 12 months) then you can APPLY for residency. At the moment  2 + years wait for residency to be allocated.
After 5 years residency you can apply for citzenship. The time line for that is variable but unlikely to be speedy.
Despite some web sites suggesting it is a simple process, and reasonably cheap getting that Belize citizenship and dual passport is a long process, and fees for  permits/visas are charged all along that time line.
Belize loves its red tape.

responding to your question about your 2002 pick up.  This may be a perfect vehicle for Belize.    IF the suspension is in good condition.  Is it 4 wheel drive.    Old pick ups are the vehicle of choice for the cost conscious here.   New Jeeps for those with more resources.    If you can prove $20 k annual income you can come QRP which allows you to bring your vehicle duty free.

The tariff cost of bringing a used car or truck is reasonable.  much better than buying here.    If you bring a newish SUV here the duty is big.   An old pick up is not so much.   Many of the cars or trucks here have been "totaled" in the USA, brought here as wrecks and are then repaired by Belizean mechanics and body workers, then sold profitably.     Way more chancy than buying a used car in the USA.  Few of the mechanics here have computerized diagnostic equipment or the equipment to straiten a frame that is out of alignment.

Car insurance for our 2002 ford escape is $185 Belize every 6 months.

jracer98 :

"I guess you could say my full time job supported my racing addiction.  :o "

Damn peculiar feeling to walk into the shop and there not be any cars, no engines, no big roller tool boxes, no trailer, etc.

It was a "What the hell are you doing?" moment....

You may recognize this track. Enjoy the 5.0 Thunderbird at the 2016 14 Hours of Daytona. Notice that we sync'd video from our incar with some from another team's incar to create some "back and forth" change of perspective.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eYDdpHzIJ8

jay

Thanks Jay!!!
That certainly stirred up my old racing memories and a bit of adrenaline.  :)

Unfortunately I never made it to Daytona despite being born in Northern Fl and raised in younger years in Miami and the Keys. Most of my racing in the 70-early 80s was up/down the Left Coast, AZ and in 1982 a group of us put together a FIA Group4 Porsche 914 and flew it over to the Macau Grand Prix  for the biggest racing event in the far east. A full week of racing for many classes on a long natural 3.8 mile road course through the streets of Machu. up into the mountains and back through the city. Machu is a 45 minute Hydrofoil ride out of Hong Kong. I was the crew chief, what an adventure that was....and we won our class.

The old Riverside International Raceway (RIR) was my home track along with Willow Springs and OMS. Of the three, only Willow survived the land becoming too valuable and being converted into shopping centers and housing. In 1983 I fled the People's Republic of Kalifornia for the freedoms of Texas, towing my Datsun 510 behind the camper.

Seeing you are moving to Hopkins and I have a house in Placencia, we should have a beer or three and chat when I get back down there this winter.  :D

My 2002 Chevy pickup isn't 4-wheel drive but I've been satisfied with it. Actually only had it a few years, got a good price because of the hail damage. I left all the dimples in it, wasn't worth putting a bunch of money into cosmetics when the innards and bones are what matters. It is functional and scarred, just like me.

I can't do QRP, have to work until I die but at least I can work from home and don't have to take a job from an Belizeans.

You can do QRP at 45 and so long as you are not expecting to work on the Belize economy you can work from home so long  as all income is from outside Belize. So long as you can bring in 2kUS dollars into a Belize bank account every month. If you are expecting to be earning that sort of amount anyway, once in Belize your money is your money in your account.   Apart from the importation of goods etc tax free one more  benefit of QRP is not losing one day a month at immigration.

So I can still come in under QRP even though my wife and I are earning income from a U.S. company who we get 1099s from each year? We are both 57 and self-employed, we operate as a partnership and have U.S. tax number. Sounds like it would be great if we can get the QRP

Yes you just have to prove you have a steady ongoing  income to cover the $2k per month, or 25k per year that you need to put into your BELIZE bank  account  (not simply an international bank account with a Belize branch ) but there is nothing to stop you having both so long as the required amount gets into that Belize bank. While the main documentation seems to state a pension I know one couple who could prove ongoing  income from rental properties in the states who were accepted. The QRP is solely intended to bring outside money into the poor  Belize economy.

My husband and I are  moving to ambergris caye in s few months. Doing rap. Can you please tell me what is a BELIZE bank in San Pedro?  How do we get our social security and pension  checks trasferred there when we move while still living  in the states? Any go would be appreciated.

I meant qrp

On the downside, if I decide to ask for permanent resident status, the time as QRP doesn't count, have to start all over.

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