Surveys Expats in Belize Who Say Freedom Appeals as Much as Low Taxes

Share Article’s survey of expats reveals “sense of freedom” is as big a draw as beaches, affordable living, slow pace, and low taxes

In the States, Americans may be griping about taxes this time of year, but American expats in Belize are taking them in stride.

U.S. citizens are taxed on their worldwide income, but American expats in the Caribbean nation of Belize report that the move has allowed them to reduce their tax burden, lower their cost of living, slash their stress levels, and increase their sense of freedom.

With white-sand beaches and the second-largest coral reef in the world, Belize’s coast and islands look quintessentially Caribbean.

However, the former British colony, where English is the first language, comes with a far lower cost of living than that found in its more high-profile Caribbean neighbors.

And the potential savings for would-be expats goes further. In order to attract retirees from other countries, Belize has adopted a “qualified permanent residence law,” which allows foreign retirees to live in the country while paying zero tax on their foreign-earned income.

Pension income is tax-free. Property taxes are relatively low and start at 1% of the assessed value. Belize currently has no capital gains tax.

In the latest edition of International Living magazine, researchers spoke with American expats living in Belize.

“We could never have afforded our beautiful home on the beach in the U.S. or on any island. But here, it’s truly affordable,” says Doran Yount, a Miami native who relocated to Belize with his wife Kim.

He continued, “We still pinch ourselves. Here we live richer for less. Even our property taxes are cheaper, at only $18 a year… We love it here. We are home with the ocean, palm trees, pool, and all of it so affordable. We have freedom. It just doesn’t get any better than this.”

Michael and Amanda Cyphers from Las Vegas had a similar experience. They left Nevada for a new life in the inland town of San Ignacio in Belize.

“I worked four days a week, 10 hours a day, for 22 years,” Michael explained. “Now, life is completely different. Now we live a much better quality of life on half of what I made in the States.”

Amanda added, “I wake up every day and think, ‘What do I do with all this freedom?’ That life in the U.S. felt like a chain or a leash. That life owned us. Here in Belize… we own our life.”

The full article on expats living in Belize, which appeared in the April edition of International Living magazine, can be read here: "Freedom and Joy of Life in Belize" and photo slideshow.

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