There are several programs in Belize that support foreign retirees. The ‘qualified pensioners’ program allows them to pay nothing in taxes on their incomes earned abroad. It does not matter if the income is active or passive: no tax is charged anyway. You don’t have to be retired to make use of the program: you only have to be above 45 years of age.
If you are above that age, you have to prove having more than US$ 2,000 per month as a stable income to qualify for a residence permit in Belize. To keep the permit, you have to spend at least one month per year in Belize. Some other conditions also apply but they are nothing to worry about.
In addition to the tax incentives, the immigrant is entitled to bring some home appliances, a car, a boat, or an airplane to Belize. If the total cost of the items does not exceed US$ 15,000, no import duties are payable.
You can also work in Belize without paying taxes in the country. The important requirement to meet is as follows: less than half of your total income has to come from Belize. That is to say, you can only work part time in Belize while the best part of your income has to come from abroad. You can launch an international consulting company, for example, and consult a few Belizeans among citizens of other countries.
Cost of living in Belize
Belize is not the cheapest country in Central America. Living in Panama, another country in the region popular with foreign retirees, is a bit less costly. At the same time, not too much money is required to live comfortably in Belize.
Monthly budget for a married couple in Belize
Renting an unfurnished house will cost you 400 dollars per month. Electricity will cost you 80 dollars if you do not use the air conditioner. Natural gas – 25 dollars, cable TV (100 channels) – 20 dollars, high-speed Internet connection – 80 dollars (you will have to make a 500-dollar deposit though). Food will cost you 150 to 300 dollars per month plus miscellaneous costs of around 200 dollars. The total is around 1,500 US dollars per month: this is the sum that you need to live in Belize.
Taxes in Belize
Foreign nationals pay taxes only on the income that they make in Belize. The first 10 thousand per year is not taxed and then the tax rate is 25% and it is flat. The sales tax is 12.5%. Please note that pension money is not taxed in Belize.
You have to know, however, that you will have to pay a 12% to 12.5% tax when buying real estate in Belize. The property tax rate will depend on the type of property. The lowest rate is 1% of the property value per year. Capital gains tax is not currently charged in Belize.
The low cost of real estate, the affordable cost of living, and the tax incentives make Belize an attractive option to consider. If you are over 45, you can relocate to Belize, offer some consultation services, and enjoy diving, fishing, and lying on the beach. Why not relocate to a warm and sunny country?