||If you are conducting a taxable activity and your annual turnover exceeds BZ$75,000.00, you will need to register for GST. Find out more about registering, how to register companies, office branches or divisions, voluntary registration and cancelling your registration.
If you are registered for GST you will need to fill out a GST return. Learn about the return, your GST account and what happens if you have GST to pay or will receive a refund.
In order to manage your GST obligations you need to keep proper records. Learn about, tax invoices and which other records you should keep, charging GST, the different methods of accounting for GST and what happens if you do not file a GST return or if you dispute an assessment.
Glossary of the terms used in GST publications including: associated persons, commercial dwelling, input tax, output tax, taxable supplies and more.
All persons engaged in a taxable activity whose annual turnover exceeds BZ$75,000.00 are required to apply for registration under the GST Act.
NOTE: For GST purposes it is not the business activity, which is registered, but the person who conducts it. The registration covers all the business activities of that person.
If the person conducting the business activity is an organization (i.e., not an individual), it is the organization, which must apply for registration.
The individual members are not required to register.
The registration of a partnership, trustees of a trust or estate is in the name of the partnership, trust or estate respectively.
A charity that carries on taxable activities in the form of a business is required to register.
Application for registration must be made on the approved form within one month of the day on which the person first becomes eligible to be registered.
Applying For Registration
To apply for registration, a person must complete a GST Application For Registration form - GST‑ 100 (see Appendix IV). The form may be obtained from any GST office or sub-treasury in the districts, or may be downloaded from our website.
Send the completed form(s), with any extra information asked for, to the GST Office.
If you do not notify the Department promptly once you are liable to be registered, you may have to account for tax, which you have not collected and pay a fine of not less than $5,000 or 2 years imprisonment or both.
A person, who is not eligible to be registered, may voluntarily apply to be registered as a Registered Person. If the Commissioner approves the application all provisions of the Act and Regulations relating to Registered person will apply to that person.
Benefits Of Being A Registered Taxpayer
When a person becomes a Registered Taxpayer, he will enjoy the following benefits under the GST Act:
- Input Tax Credit - He will be able to claim a credit for GST paid on his business purchases (input tax).
- GST Credits for Customers - Only a Registered Person can issue tax invoices to customers who are registered so that these customers will be able to claim an input tax credit for purchases made.
Where the Commissioner is satisfied with the details on the application for registration (GST‑100) he will register the person and issue a Certificate of Registration.
Certificate of Registration for the Registered Person
The Certificate of Registration issued to a Registered person (see Appendix IV) shows the Tax Identification Number and the effective date of registration.
A Certificate of Registration or an official copy of the certificate must be prominently displayed in each business outlet. If a person operates his business from two or more branches, he must inform the Department of GST of this at the time of application for registration and he will be issued with the required number of official copies of certificates.
These certificates must not be photocopied.
A Registered Person commits an offence if he does not display the certificate or official copies of the certificate, or if he displays a Certificate not issued by the Department.
CANCELLATION OF REGISTRATION
Where the Commissioner is satisfied that the person no longer carries on a taxable activity, and no longer qualifies for registration, he shall cancel the registration.
Before the Commissioner cancels a registration, he will notify the Registered Person of his intention in writing, stating the reason.
If the Commissioner, after consideration of any objection decides to cancel the registration, he must inform the person in writing of the decision and of the right of appeal. The registered person has the right to appeal to the Appeals Board. The person must return the Certificate of Registration to the Commissioner within fifteen days of the cancellation.
Note: All liabilities and obligations incurred while being a Registered Taxpayer are not affected by ceasing to be registered.
A registered person is required to file a return within fifteen (15) days after the end of each tax period, whether or not he made a taxable supply. This self-assessment system requires a registered person to calculate their tax liability, or refund due them in respect of the period concerned. Your GST return should include your TIN, the period covered by the return, your mailing address, and a phone number.
When is the GST return and payment due?
The return and payment is due within fifteen days after the end of the tax period to which it relates.
Penalties may apply and interest will accrue if you do not file your return and pay the tax due.
What information is to be supplied on the General Sales Tax Return?
Output tax payable on the taxable supplies/sales made by you during the tax period.
Output tax on special transaction, which occurred during the tax period, for example: Deemed taxable supplies upon deregistration and adjustments such as debit notes issued
Input tax on goods and services purchased for making taxable supplies during the tax period.
Allowable input tax on special transaction during the tax period e.g. bad debts written off.
The net tax payable or refundable for the tax period.
What happens if filing date falls on a Bank Holiday or weekend?
If the filing date falls on a weekend or a bank holiday, you are advised that the GST return must be filed no later than the next working day after the bank holiday or weekend (see GST calendar)
Overview of GST obligations
Persons who are registered for GST have certain obligations. Failure to meet these obligations will result in penalties. Registered Persons must:
- Account for GST on taxable supplies made and received
- Complete GST returns and pay tax owing by the due date
- Keep accurate records
- Inform the DEPARTMENT OF GST in writing within 7 days of any changes in name and or address of the business
- Inform the DEPARTMENT OF GST in writing within 7 days if you cease all taxable activities
Record keeping for GST
Proper records should be kept so that the GST liability can be readily assessed. These records must be kept in Belize and written in English. It is an offence not to keep these records, and penalties may be charged.
Records must be retained for six years unless written permission is received from the Commissioner of GST for early disposal. For GST purposes, records include:
- Books of account including purchases an sales ledgers (on paper or computer)
- Customs Import/Export Documents
- Till tapes
- Tax invoices
- Credit and debit notes
- Bank statements
- Stock-on-hand records
- Inventory records
- Motor vehicle logbooks
- Accounting instruction manuals
- System and program documentation that describes the accounting system
- Charts and codes of account
- Any other documents that verify transactions or entries in any books of account
If you supply goods and services to another registered person, you must provide a tax invoice at the time of supply. Not to supply one is an offence and you may be charged penalties.
Tax invoices must be in Belize currency.
Issuing tax invoices
The tax invoice must clearly show:
- The words tax invoice in a prominent place
- The name (or trade name) address and TIN of the supplier and recipient
- The identifying serial number and the date it was issued
- A description of the goods and/or services supplied
- The price of the supply
- The rate of tax applicable to the supply and the amount of GST included in the price of the supply
- Such other particulars, if any, as required by the regulations to be included in the tax invoice
What if you receive a tax invoice too late to claim a GST credit?
For claims on supplies over $50.00 you must hold a tax invoice before you can claim a credit. If you do not hold a tax invoice, you cannot claim a credit.
Therefore you cannot claim a credit for a purchase when your return is due but you don’t have a tax invoice. If this happens you can claim the credit for the purchase in a later return, when you actually receive the tax invoice.
Duplicate tax invoices
A registered person can only issue one original tax invoice for each taxable supply. If the purchaser loses the invoice, the supplier may issue a copy. It must be clearly marked COPY.
Glossary of the terms used in GST publications including: associated persons, commercial dwelling input tax, output tax, taxable supplies and more.
“Acquisition,” in relation to the recipient of a supply of goods or services, means:
(a) the receipt of the goods or services by the recipient;
(b) the receipt of the goods or services by another person at the instigation of the recipient or under the agreement between the supplier and the recipient; or
(b) if another person is treated as making a supply to the person under this Act or the Regulations, a corresponding receipt of that supply;
“Aircraft’s stores” means stores for the use of the passengers or crew of an aircraft, or for the service of an aircraft;
“Body of persons” means any body politic, corporate or collegiate and any company, fraternity, fellowship, partnership, or society of persons whether corporate or unincorporate, and includes a joint venture and the trustees of a trust;
“Appointed day” means the day on which this Act comes into force under section 1(2);
“Business” has the meaning given in section 3;
“Capital asset” means an asset, whether tangible or intangible, acquired by a person for use in the person’s business but does not include:
(a) consumables or raw materials; or
(b) an asset acquired for the principal purpose of resale in the ordinary course of carrying on the person’s business, whether or not the asset is to be sold in the form or state in which it was acquired;
“Certificate of registration” means a certificate of registration issued under section 27;
“Commissioner” means the Commissioner of GST appointed under this Act;
“Company” means an incorporated or unincorporated association or body of persons created or recognised under a law in force in Belize or elsewhere, but does not include a partnership or trust;
“Comptroller” means the Comptroller of Customs appointed under the Customs Regulation Act;
“Consideration” in relation to a supply or acquisition, means any payment, act, or forbearance by any person whether or not voluntary, in respect of, in response to, or furtherance of, the business.
“Entered” in relation to goods imported or exported, means the registration (acceptance and official numbering) by the Comptroller of Customs or other proper officer of Customs of a declaration signed by or on behalf of the importer or exporter in the manner prescribed by the Customs Regulation Act, together with the payment to the proper officer by the importer or the exporter of all rents and charges due to the Government in respect of the goods (except on the entry for warehousing of goods), the payment by the importer or exporter to the proper officer of full duties due thereon, or else, where permitted, the deposit of a sum of money or giving of security for the duties as provided by law.
(a) in relation to an import, an import that is specified as exempt in this Act, a Schedule to this Act, or the Regulations; or
(b) in relation to a supply, -
(i) a supply that is specified as exempt in this Act, a Schedule to this Act, or the Regulations; or
(ii) a supply of a right or option to receive an exempt supply;
“Exempt use” means the use of goods or services by a taxable person for the purpose of making exempt supplies, including where used partly for other purposes of the person’s business, if those other purposes will constitute less than 10% of the total use of the goods or services;
“Export,” in relation to a supply of goods, means the goods are delivered to, or made available at, an address outside Belize, and for this purpose evidence that goods have been exported includes evidence of¾
(a) the consignment or delivery of the goods to an address outside Belize; or
(b) the delivery of the goods to the owner, charterer, or operator of a ship or aircraft engaged in international transport for the purpose of carrying the goods outside Belize;
“Face value,” in relation to a voucher, means a monetary amount stated (whether visibly, electronically, or otherwise) on the voucher, which represents the value of supplies of goods or services for which the voucher is redeemable;
“Face value voucher,” means a voucher, which entitles the holder to receive a supply or supplies of goods or services up to the face value of the voucher;
“Fair market value” has the meaning given in section 6;
“Finance lease” means¾
(a) a hire purchase agreement; or
(b) a lease, other than a lease of land, that is treated as a finance lease under international financial reporting standards;
“Gambling event” means:
(a) the conduct of a lottery or raffle, or similar undertaking; or
(b) a race, game, sporting event, or any other event which has or is intended to have an outcome;
“Gambling supply” means:
(a) a supply of a ticket (however described) in a lottery, raffle or similar undertaking; or
(b) the acceptance of a bet (however described) relating to the outcome of a gambling event;
“Goods” means any tangible property, whether real or personal, but does not include money;
“Government entity” means ¾
(a) the Government of Belize or a Department, Division, or Agency of Government;
(b) a Public Statutory Body, agency, or authority; or
(c) a Government owned or operated body, agency, or authority;
“GST” or “general sales tax” means the tax imposed under this Act, and includes any amount to the extent that it is treated as GST for the purposes of this Act, including interest or a penalty payable under this Act, and the absence of a specific reference to the inclusion of such amounts in a particular provision should not be taken to imply that they are not included in the GST referred to in that section;
“GST return” means a return required by section 30;
“Importer,” in relation to an import of goods, means the person treated as the importer for the purposes of the Customs and Excise Duties Act;
“Individual” means a natural person;
“Input tax,” -
(a) in relation to an acquisition of goods or services by a person, means the GST imposed on the supply to that person of those goods or services, and
(b) in relation to an import of goods by a person, means the GST imposed on that import;
and includes any amount that is treated as input tax under this Act or the Regulations.
“Input tax credit” means a credit for input tax allowed under section 32 or under any other provision of this Act or the Regulations;
“International transport” means the supply of the following types of services ¾
(a) the services, other than ancillary transport services, of transporting passengers or goods by road, water, or air ¾
(i) from a place outside Belize to another place outside Belize, including part of the transport that takes place in the territory of Belize;
(ii) from a place outside Belize to a place in Belize; or
(iii) from a place in Belize to a place outside Belize;
(b) the services of transporting passengers from a place in Belize to another place in Belize to the extent that transport is by aircraft or ship and constitutes “international carriage” as defined in Article 3 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation;
(c) the services, including ancillary transport services, of transporting goods from a place in Belize to another place in Belize to the extent that those services are supplied by the same supplier as part of the supply of services to which paragraph (a) applies; or
(d) the services of insuring, arranging for the insurance of, or arranging for the transport of passengers or goods to which paragraphs (a), (b), or (c) apply;
“Invoice” means a document notifying an obligation to make a payment;
“Minister” means the Minister for the time being responsible for Finance;
(a) any coin or paper currency (whether of Belize or of another country);
(b) a negotiable instrument used or circulated, or intended for use or circulation, as currency (whether of Belize or of another country);
(c) a bill of exchange, promissory note, bank draft, postal order, money order, or similar instrument;
(d) whatever is supplied as payment by way of:
(i) credit card or debit card; or
(ii) crediting or debiting an account; or
(iii) the creation or transfer of a debt
and includes any amount expressed as an amount of money but does not include a collector’s piece, investment article, or item of numismatic interest;
(a) a person who is not resident in Belize; and
(b) a person referred to in paragraph (d) of the definition of resident, to the extent that the person is not treated as a resident by that paragraph;
“Officer” of an unincorporated body means ¾
(a) in the case of a partnership, a partner of the partnership;
(b) in the case of a trust, a trustee of the trust; and
(c) in the case of any other unincorporated body ¾
(i) a person who holds office as chairman, president, treasurer, secretary of the body, or a similar office; or
(ii) if there is no such officer, a member of a committee that has management of the affairs of the body; or
(iii) if no person can be identified under paragraph (i) or (ii), a member of the body.
“Officer of customs” includes excise officers and all members of the Police Force;
“Output tax,” in relation to a person and to a tax period, means the GST payable by the person in respect of a taxable supply made or treated as having been made by the person during the tax period, and includes any amount that is treated as output tax in relation to that period under this Act or the Regulations;
“Partnership” and “partner” have the same meanings as in the Partnership Act;
“Person” includes an individual, a legal person, a body of persons, a government entity, and any part of such person or group of such persons that is treated as a person for the purposes of this Act;
“Phone card” means a card or similar item in whatever form it is issued, including electronically, which entitles the holder to receive telecommunications services up to its face value, and includes a pre-paid SIM card, a rechargeable card, or a similar item;
“Progressive or periodic supply” means ¾
(a) a supply of goods or services made progressively or periodically under an agreement or law that provides for progressive or periodic payments; or
(b) a supply of goods by way of a lease or hire (including a finance lease);
“Real property” includes an estate, interest, easement, or right, whether equitable or legal, in, to, or out of land, and includes things attached to land or permanently fastened to anything attached to land;
“Recipient”, in relation to a supply of goods or services, means the person to whom the goods or services are supplied;
“Registered” means registered under Part IV, Division 3 of this Act;
“Related person”has the meaning given in section 7;
(a) a person who is resident in Belize for the year in question for the purposes of determining the person’s liability for income tax under the Income and Business Tax Act;
(b) a person, including a body, company, partnership, board, or trust, which is formed or created under the laws of Belize or which is managed and controlled in Belize; or
(c) any other person to the extent that the person carries on a business in Belize;
“Residential premises” means land or a building occupied or capable of being occupied as a residence, but not including hotel or holiday accommodation;
“Schedule” means a Schedule to this Act;
“Ship’s stores” means stores for the use of the passengers or crew of a ship, or for the service of a ship;
“Strata corporation” means a corporation established under section 5 of the Strata Titles Registration Act or any similar person including, without limitation, a trust, a company, or other person if the units in the trust, shares in the company, or other membership interests in the person carry with them an entitlement for the holder to occupy any land of part thereof for any period;
“Supplier”, in relation to a supply of goods or services, means the person by whom the goods or services are supplied;
“Supply” means a supply of goods or a supply of services as defined in section 5;
“Tax” has the same meaning as “GST”;
“Taxable acquisition” means the acquisition of a taxable supply;
“Taxable importation” means an importation of goods into Belize but does not include an exempt importation;
“Taxable person” means:
(a) a person who is registered; and
(b) subject to the limitations set out in section 22(5), a person who is required to be registered;
“Taxable supply” has the meaning given in section 15(1);>
“Taxpayer Identification Number” or “TIN”, in relation to a registered person, means the unique identifying number shown on the certificate of registration issued to that person under section 27;
“Tax invoice” means a tax invoice given under section 36;
“Tax period” means a calendar month;
“Telecommunications services” means the transmission, emission, or reception of signals, writing, images, sounds or information of any kind by wire, radio, optical, or other electromagnetic systems, and includes:
(a) the related transfer or assignment of the right to use capacity for such transmission, emission, or reception; and
(b) the provision of access to global or local information networks,
but does not include the supply of the underlying writing, images, sounds, or information;
“Telecommunications supplier” means a supplier of telecommunications services;
“Type of supply” means:
(a) a zero-rated supply;
(b) an exempt supply;
(c) a taxable supply that is not a zero-rated supply; or
(d) any other kind of supply;
(a) in relation to an import, has the meaning given in section 13; and
(b) in relation to a supply, has the meaning in section 19;
“Voucher” means a voucher, stamp, token, coupon, or similar article, including an article issued electronically, that can be redeemed by the holder for supplies of goods or services, and includes a phone card but does not include a postage stamp;
“Zero-rated,” in relation to a supply or import, means -
(a) a supply or import that is specified as zero-rated under this Act, a Schedule to this Act, or the Regulations; or
(b) a supply of a right or option to receive a supply that will be zero-rated.
Definition of a business
3. (1) For the purpose of this Act, a “business” is taken to include the following activities, whether or not carried on for pecuniary profit:
(a) a trade, profession or vocation;
(b) an activity that involves or is intended to involve, in whole or in part, the supply of goods or services to another person;
(c) an activity that involves or is intended to involve the supply of membership, facilities, or advantages to its members by a club, association, or organization, including a strata corporation;
(d) an activity involving the admission of persons to any premises.
(2) The following activities shall not be considered to constitute a business or part of a business:
(a) the supply to its members, by a body having objects in the public domain that are of a political, religious, philanthropic, philosophical, or patriotic nature, of the right to participate in its management or receive reports on its activities;
(b) an engagement, occupation, or employment under a contract of service or as a director of a company except where, in carrying on any business, the person accepts an office and supplies services as the holder of that office, in which case those services shall be regarded as being supplied in the course of, or furtherance of the business;
(c) an activity carried on by an individual as a private recreational pursuit or hobby;
(d) an activity carried on by a person other than an individual which, if carried on by an individual, would fall within paragraph (c);
(e) subject to the approval of the Minister of Finance, an activity to the extent that it involves a supply of goods without charge by the Government of a country other than Belize, an international institution, an individual, or a group of individuals, to assist the economic development of Belize;
(f) subject to the approval of the Minister of Finance, an activity to the extent that it involves the supply of goods or services using funds provided under grant agreements with external donor agencies, or funds borrowed from external financial institutions by the Government, or under a Government Guarantee, to assist the economic development of Belize.
(g) an activity involving the supply of goods or services by a government entity to the extent, if any, that the entity or the activity may, from time to time, be specified by the Minister.
(3) Anything done in connection with the commencement or termination of a business shall, for the purposes of this Act, be regarded as done in the course of, or furtherance of, the business.
Definition of Consideration
4. (1) “Consideration,” in relation to a supply or acquisition, means any payment, act, or forbearance by any person, whether or not voluntary, in respect of, in response to, or for the inducement of the supply.
(2) For the avoidance of doubt, “consideration” includes a reimbursement of the supplier for any duties, levies, fees, charges, and taxes (including GST) paid or payable by the supplier in respect of the supply, but does not include a price discount or rebate allowed and accounted for at the time of the supply.
(3) Where the consideration for a supply or importation must be expressed as an amount, the amount shall be the sum of -
(a) so far as the consideration is expressed as an amount of money, that amount;
(b) so far as the consideration is not consideration expressed as an amount of money, the GST-inclusive fair market value of the consideration.
Definition of a supply of goods or services
5. (1) A “supply of goods” means a sale, exchange, or other transfer of the right to dispose of goods as owner but does not include a supply of money.
(2) Anything that is not a supply of goods or money is a “supply of services,” including, without limitation, ¾
(a) the grant, assignment, termination, or surrender of a right;
(b) the making available of a facility, opportunity, or advantage;
(c) refraining from or tolerating an activity, a situation, or the doing of an act;
(d) the issue of a licence, permit, certificate, concession, authorisation, or similar document;
(e) the lease, hire, or rental of goods, or any other supply of a right to use goods;
(f) the production of goods by applying a treatment or process to goods belonging to another person, which shall be regarded as a supply of services to that other person;
(g) the supply of water, other than water in a container, or the supply of natural gas or any form of power, refrigeration, or air-conditioning; or
(h) anything that is deemed to be a supply of services by this Act or by Regulations.
(3) A progressive or periodic supply is treated as a series of separate supplies as follows:
(a) if the supply is made progressively or periodically under an agreement or law that provides for progressive or periodic payments:
(i) each progressive or periodic part of the supply is a separate supply; or
(ii) if such parts are not readily identifiable, each separate supply corresponds to the proportion of the supply to which each separate payment relates;
(b) if the supply involves a lease or hire of goods:
(i) if payment is made progressively or periodically, each separate supply corresponds to the proportion of the supply to which each separate payment relates; or
(ii) in any other case, each separate supply corresponds to each tax period, to the extent that the period of the lease or hire occurs during that tax period.
(4) If a taxable person¾
(a) applies goods or services wholly to a private or exempt use; or
(b) having used the goods wholly or partly in its business, applies them in the manner described in paragraph (a) from a particular time onwards; and
(c) the taxable person is or has been allowed an input tax credit in respect of part or all of the input tax incurred on the acquisition or importation of the goods or services,
the application is treated as a supply of the goods or services by the taxable person.
(5) A supply of goods or services (“referred to in this section as the incidental supply”) that is ancillary or incidental to another supply of goods or services (“referred to in this section as the principal supply”), is part of the supply of principal supply.
(6) A supply of services that are ancillary or incidental to an import of goods is part of the import of goods.
(7) Subject to subsections (5) and (6), where more than one thing is supplied in a single transaction, regulations made under this Act may provide that there is only one supply and may specify how to determine which of the things supplied are incidental supplies and which is the principal supply.
(8) Regulations made under this Act may provide that a something that would otherwise be a supply is not a supply for the purposes of this Act.
Definition of fair market value
6. (1) The “fair market value” of a supply of goods or services, including anything provided as in-kind consideration for another supply, is:
(a) the consideration the supply would fetch in an open market transaction freely made between unrelated persons; or
(b) if it is not possible to determine an amount under paragraph (a), the consideration a similar supply would fetch in an open market transaction freely made between unrelated persons, adjusted to take account of the differences between such supply and the actual supply;
determined on the basis of the market conditions, including the registration status of the supplier, prevailing at the time and place of the actual supply.
(2) For the purpose of subsection (1)(b), one supply is similar to another if it is the same as, or closely resembles, the other supply in character, quality, quantity, functionality, materials, and reputation.
(3) If the fair market value of a supply cannot be determined under subsection (1), it may be determined using any method approved by the Commissioner for calculating an objective approximation of the consideration the supply would fetch in an open market transaction freely made between unrelated persons.
(4) If a provision of this Act requires the fair market value to be determined for particular goods or services, or for an asset held by a person, that value is worked out under this section by reference to the value that a supply of those goods or services, or that asset, would fetch in a transaction freely made under appropriate market conditions.
Definition of related persons
7. (1) Persons are “related persons” if:
(a) they are officers or directors of one another’s business;
(b) in the case of a partnership, they are a partner and that partnership, and the partner, either alone or together with persons who are related to the partner under another paragraph of this definition, owns 25 per cent or more of the rights to income or capital of the partnership;
(c) they are a shareholder and a company limited by shares in which the shareholder, either alone or together with persons who are related to the shareholder under another paragraph of this definition:
(i) controls 25 per cent or more of the voting power in the company; or
(ii) owns 25 per cent or more of the rights to distributions of income or capital by the company;
(d) in the case of two companies, a person directly or indirectly, either alone or together with persons who are related to the person under another paragraph of this definition, owns, controls, or holds 25 per cent or more of the voting power or the rights to distributions of income or capital in both of them;
(e) one of them directly or indirectly controls the other;
(f) both of them are directly or indirectly controlled by a third person;
(g) together they directly or indirectly control a third person;
(h) they are members of the same family; or
(i) in the case of a trust, they are the trust and a person who is or may be a beneficiary of that trust or whose relative is or may be a beneficiary of the trust.
(2) Persons who are associated in business with one another in that one is the sole agent, sole distributor, or sole concessionaire, however described, of the other are related persons only if they fall within the criteria set out in subsection (1).
(3) For the purposes of this section, one person controls another if the former is legally or operationally in a position to exercise restraint or direction over the latter.