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Known as one of the great diving spaces in the world, thanks to Jacques Cousteau, Belize has been a desirable destination for US expats for generations. But beyond the stunning reefs and deep blue waters, it’s still essential to understand Belize taxes for US expats when living in this gorgeous country.
Calculating your taxes can be tricky — especially when you have to calculate your US and Belize taxes. But we’ll help by walking you through everything you need to know about expat taxes in Belize in this guide:
When living abroad in Belize as a US expat, you’re on the hook for both your US taxes and Belize taxes. Figuring out all of the tax filing and reporting requirements takes time and effort. The good news is, understanding your Belize tax implications are fairly simple.
You need to file a tax return in Belize whether you’re a resident or non-resident unless you meet specific low-income requirements. Residents pay income tax on all income, while non-residents are only taxed on their Belize-sourced income.
US expats who are non-residents in Belize only pay taxes on income earned in the country. Foreign income is not taxed
It’s important to know if you’re a resident of Belize since residents and non-residents have different tax implications. Here’s how to know what your residency status is when living in Belize.
Unless you are born in Belize or marry a resident of the country, you must apply to become a resident here. In order to apply, you must have lived in the country for at least a year — and you must not have left the country for more than 14 days during the past tax year. You’ll also need to demonstrate that you’re financially stable and free of criminal offenses.
You can also apply for temporary residency (which lasts one year) if you have investments in the country worth five hundred thousand Belize dollars or more.
Unless you’ve gone through the residency process and were approved, you’re likely considered a non-resident of Belize. This means you’re only responsible for paying income tax on your non-Belize income. The country will not levy income taxes on foreign-earned income.
Both residents and non-residents will pay a flat income tax rate of 25% on taxable income. If you make under $26,000 BZ, you’re exempt from income tax.
Individuals who are self-employed in Belize will need to declare a weekly estimated income to cover Social Security tax. Taxes are calculated at a 7% rate. Though this is a weekly contribution, you can make payments monthly.
Companies in the oil industry pay a 25% flat tax rate on all profits. Other companies will pay business tax at a set rate, depending on their profits.
In Belize, you’ll pay a value-added tax (VAT) when buying goods or services. Belize has a flat VAT rate of 12.5%.
There is no wealth tax in Belize.
There is no inheritance tax in Belize.
There is a flat 12.5% property tax on rented properties and a 2% property tax on vacant properties in Belize.
Belize employees and employers are both on the hook for Social Security taxes. Contributions are based on your weekly income amount. You can view the current contribution levels on the Belize Social Security website.
Belize does not have a Tax treaty with the U.S. Although many countries have a tax treaty with the US, Tax treaties can help protect US citizens and residents from paying double taxes on the same income.
No, Belize does not have a totalization agreement with the US. A totalization agreement helps protect you from paying double Social Security contributions — in this case, contributing to both US and Belize Social Security funds. Since a totalization agreement doesn’t exist, US expats in Belize are on the hook to pay into both countries’ Social Security funds.
Americans living abroad in Belize need to file both Belize taxes and US taxes. You can file your Belize tax return with Form BTS203 – Income Tax Return for Employees. There are two versions — one for printing and mailing in to the Belize Tax Service (BTS) and one to file online.
The Belize tax year is the same as the US (January 1 – December 31), and your income taxes must be filed by March 31 of the subsequent tax year.
We hope this guide answered all of your questions about the tax requirements for US expats living in Belize. If you still have questions about your tax liability, residency status, or how to file your Belize taxes, Greenback Expat Tax Services can help.