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Costa Rica’s New Tax Laws; Evaders Beware

Costa Rica News – For all of those businesses and businesses owners that have been skating by when it comes to full tax disclosure or have been doing business under the table, it might be time to get your books in order.  

Tax-Evasion 1The Costa Rican government is getting stricter about tax laws. New regulations released in April detail the plan to rope in individuals and business owners that have not been paying taxes or have been paying them incorrectly.

The public accountant association of Costa Rica says that the penalties for incorrect taxes have increased substantially, and everyone should be very careful with their declarations. But that’s not all. The new laws allow tax collectors to review taxes from up to 10 years in the past and check for issues if they feel that it is necessary! Previously, they could only go back 5 years. A judge may also be involved to get access to bank accounts, if they can prove it is necessary.

These new rules make it very important for taxpayers to stay on top of their income and expenses and report these in a timely fashion. The Colegio de Contadores Publicos has offered to help the public with the changes by offering a public seminar detailing the changes and general tax practices. One part of the law that they say isn’t quite fair is about paying the fine.

Under the new law, offenders have only 30 days to pay the fine determined by the auditors. Even if the organization or individual wants to submit an appeal, they will need to pay the amount before the 30 days are up. Not paying the fine could result in an embargo of assets or even time in prison, and having to pay a substantial fine in such a short amount of time could potentially ruin a business.

It will be interesting to see if this is focused on gringo owned businesses or if it will apply to every business in Costa Rica.

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