The Belize real estate market is having a moment. This Caribbean country’s tourism market is in the midst of a boom, and that’s drawn the eyes of both retirees and investors. People who visit have a tendency to want to stick around, and the Belizean government is happy to assist with that. A combination of public interest, generous tax benefits from the Belizean government, and the fact that the market is still developing all combine together to create a perfect storm for real estate investors. Belize is widely regarded as a tax shelter, but here are the specifics you should know if you’re thinking of buying property.
Property taxes work a little differently depending on where you are in Belize. Outside of major urban areas like Belize City, tax is assessed based on the undeveloped value of the land rather than on the value of what exists or is being built on that land. Adding even more value to the proposition is the fact that the tax rate varies from 1% to 1.5%. It’s a conscious choice by the Belizean government to encourage development, and it can particularly benefit anyone who’s willing to buy up land and then wait for the infrastructure and interest to roll in down the line.
Real Estate Tax
The amount you’ll pay to transfer a property into your name can vary some, but you can generally expect to pay roughly 12.5% of the house’s sale value at closing. Property transfer tax rates vary from 5 to 8 percent on average, and you can expect to tack on a few percentage points for attorney fees and related expenses.
The fact that Belize charges a 25% income tax might initially seem to make the property and real estate tax advantages moot, but available exemptions ensure that you can spend much less or avoid paying taxes altogether. Pensions are exempt from these taxes, and the Qualified Retired Persons Program allows you to get a path to citizenship while still keeping your income generated outside of Belize untaxed. Even if you don’t qualify for the program, income tax can be largely side-stepped by making use of an international business corporation to shield your income.
If you want to buy real estate in Belize for any reason, it’s smart to have a team of experts by your side. Hesed Realty LTD has the experience and resources you need to make an informed decision — and our team of local agents can provide you with a diverse selection of properties without sacrificing specialized knowledge.