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Oct 3, 2022

B.T.B. Launches a Tax Amnesty for Delinquent Property Owners

The Belize Tourism Board has launched a tax amnesty program for property owners that have been operating illegally without a license and not paying their tourism taxes. Reports are that approximately two hundred small properties like vacation rental homes and guesthouses have been operating without a license. The delinquency is in the millions. Now to get these owners legally registered and paying their taxes, they are being encouraged to go in to the B.T.B. and get registered. No penalty will be incurred, but they will be regularised and ensure that the tax is applied. Minister Anthony Mahler explains the three-month amnesty.

 

Anthony Mahler

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations

“It is geared towards the vacation rentals, so Airbnb, Vacasa, VRBO, etc. It is creating a period, only a three-month period, whereby these people can come in and get registered. We believe about twenty percent of the current stock is out there unregistered and so you’re talking maybe about two hundred units that are unregistered. The Hotels and Tourist Accommodation Act is very, very stringent and strict with regards to taxes, licensing and stuff like that. So we are creating this period whereby we are telling them in good fate, come in and license and you won’t be penalised for operating illegally all this time. In parallel we are talking to Airbnb to ensure that throughout their process, they include Belize hotel tax in that and they will provide the payment to us on a monthly basis.”

 

Duane Moody

“So we have not been collecting taxes from these people?”

 

Anthony Mahler

“From many of them. We have from some, but not all of them. So there are still Airbnbs out there, there are still other vacation rentals out there that have not come in to register, which they should. We are also cognizant of the fact that one of these vacation rentals might not be on the level of a large hotel and so we are easing the restrictions so that they don’t have to go through all the processes and the licensing requirements that a large hotel would require. So we are making it easier for them to operate.”


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