Accounting records in Belize: a new statutory requirement
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) of Belize has informed that all companies must ensure their accounting records are kept at their registered office in Belize by 31 December 2023.
According to the Accounting Records (Maintenance) (Amendment) Act, 2023, every company must keep its accounting records within Belize at its registered office. If a company does not have its own registered office in Belize (that is typical for most former International Business Companies or IBCs), it must keep its accounting records at the office of its registered agent in Belize.
If a company fails to provide its registered agent with the accounting records, the registered agent must notify the FSC of this fact. The agent must also warn the company of the intention to withdraw its services as a registered agent if the required information is not provided within five days of the notice.
The public notice issued by the FSC on 22 September 2023 also informs that failure to comply with the new requirement by registered agents, licensees or other reporting entities will result in enforcement measures against any person or entity liable under the Act.
Duty to maintain accounting records
All companies incorporated in Belize must keep accounting records for at least five years after the closure of an account, the end of a transaction, or the termination of a business relationship.
These records include financial statements, ledgers, sales slips, contracts and invoices, records and documentation relating to the company’s assets and liabilities, receipts and expenditures, sales and purchases and all financial transactions made by a company.
A registered agent must provide accounting records of any company under its administration to the competent authority in Belize upon request within the time prescribed in such request.
The previous version of the Accounting Records (Maintenance) Act allowed companies to keep accounting records at any place within or outside Belize as may be determined by directors. This option is now unavailable.
Actions to take
Belizean companies (including former International Business Companies), which earlier had elected to keep accounting records at a place other than a registered agent’s office (usually outside Belize), are recommended to:
- Check the completeness and accuracy of their accounting records wherever they are actually kept;
- Contact the registered agent or the professional intermediary to get the relevant instructions;
- Deliver accounting records to the registered agent’s office in Belize in the form and by the means prescribed by the agent before 31 December 2023.