A Quick Guide to Starting A Nonprofit in Belize

by MyBelize.Net | March 3, 2015 4:22 pm

A nonprofit refers to an organization that works to serve a public purpose. It is not geared toward any financial benefits of one set individual, company or entity. Nonprofits simply exist to serve and fulfill a community need. In Belize, these organizations are governed by the Non-Governmental Organisations Act, Chapter 315 of The Laws of Belize.

There is not one set person who owns a nonprofit, but it is owned rather by a governing board of directors. Because nonprofits are not in existence to earn a profit, any excess in revenue of the operating budget will be directed back into the organization.

A Nonprofit is also known as a charity, not for profit, NGO, voluntary organization, social sector or independent sector.

According to the Non-Governmental Organisations Act, the following attributes and characteristics are found in Belize nonprofits:

If you’ve decided to start up a nonprofit to aid your community, you can contact this law firm in Belize[1] for assistance.

How to Start a Nonprofit?

  1. Make a plan

The first thing you need to do when starting up a nonprofit is to do your research. You need to ensure that a new nonprofit organization is needed in the community and that it won’t compete with any other NGO’s in the area that serve the same cause.

Next, you’ll need to develop a strategy of operational and fundraising plans. Some areas you’ll need to outline during this phase are:

  1. Choose a name

The name of your nonprofit needs to be unique, but also easily remembered while encompassing the organization’s mission.

  1. Recruit a Board of Directors

A nonprofit isn’t owned by any one individual but rather managed by a board of directors that is legally accountable for its actions and to oversee the success of the nonprofit’s purpose.

  1. Draft By-laws

By-laws serve as the operational manual for your nonprofit. They set out the rules that govern the internal management of the organization. These by-laws need to be prepared by the Board of Directors and adopted by the time you go to register the nonprofit.

  1. Register the organization

You must complete the nonprofit Application Form and attach the following supporting documentation for submission to the Registrar:

Nonprofits in Belize are exempt from all income taxes and may apply to the Minister of Finance to also be exempted from other business taxes and duties. Every nonprofit in Belize is required to keep accounts and other records of the business to ensure that it conforms to commercial and accounting standards. All nonprofit accounts will be audited annually by an auditor appointed by its Board of Directors. These statements of accounts are due within four months after the end of each financial year.

For access to the Non-Governmental Organisations Act, click here[2].

  1. law firm in Belize: http://www.courtenaycoye.com/
  2. here: http://www.icnl.org/research/library/files/Belize/belize.pdf

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