If you’ve ever planned to retire in the Caribbean, you might want to consider Belize as your retirement destination. Named in the 52 places to go in 2017 by the New York Times, this country offers many reasons to retire safely in Central America, here’s some of those reasons:
Named #2 best retirement haven by International Living Magazine, Belize has gone to great lengths to attract foreign retirees, such as the Qualified Retirement program. This program has incentives that allow you to retire in Belize and import your household items and vehicles duty-free. A QRP also pays no tax on foreign-earned income. To qualify, one must simply be aged 45 years or older, have a monthly income of at least $2,000 US dollars and comply with several other minor requirements. Incredibly, you must also live in Belize for a minimum of one month out of the year.
The Qualified Retirement Program is classed as one of the best in the world for tax breaks, to qualify for the QRP you must: Be 45 years or older, you can also include your spouse and dependents under the age of 18 in the program. Submit an application along with:
- Birth certificate.
- Marriage certificate.
- A police record from your most recent place of residence, issued within a month prior to the application.
- A copy of each page (including blank ones) in your passport. Retain a notary public to certify the copy with his or her seal and mark how many pages are in the passport, the passport number, and your name.
- Proof of income. This can be in the form of a statement from a pension of an annuity company or from your bank. The statement must show that your income is at least $2,000 a month or the equivalent of at least $24,000 a year.
- Medical certificate stating that you are in good health and not HIV positive
- Color photos — four recent front-view and four side-view passport- size photographs of yourself and any dependents who are applying.
- You must also submit a non-refundable $100 application fee plus a “program fee” of $500 for yourself and $350 for each dependent. If you’re accepted into the program, you’ll owe an additional $100. Also figure on $2,500 to $5,000 to retain an attorney who can steer you through the application process.
Advantages of the QRP — Belize Retirement 101: How to Retire in Belize
Paying no Belizean tax on foreign earned income — you won’t be taxed twice on money you’re bringing into the country. As a QRP you can import your household goods tax-free up to a total exemption amount of $15,000. You can also bring in a vehicle tax-free, which can be a car, a light aircraft or a boat.
Every five years you can import a new vehicle tax-free as long as you sell the original vehicle outside of Belize.
In many countries you have to make a significant financial commitment in order to qualify for a program that provides financial incentives for living in the country. In Belize, you must simply prove an income of at least $2,000 a month.
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