Expat groups hope that tax reform is coming

Congressional leaders have decided to tackle tax reform after the summer recess, and overseas advocates are hoping to see some of their ideas adopted.

Few would disagree that U.S. income taxation is exceedingly complex and puts burdens on those living overseas.

Overseas Americans are taxed because of their U.S. citizenship. There are some deductions on earned income, but the United States remains only one of two countries that do this. There are no deductions for some investment income and capital gains.

Expats need to follow the congressional actions closely because some proposals call for a hefty exit tax by those planning to live overseas. That may be reasonable for someone leaving the United States for a very long period or for good, but many expats in Costa Rica come and go and probably would not like to be hit with a big tax every time they leave the United States.

The tax is supposed to make up for lost income if the United States stops taxing its overseas citizens.

The American Citizens Abroad advocacy group and its global foundation have launched a fund drive to raise money to push for tax reform.

The upcoming tax-reform process is focusing on residence-based taxation changes for U.S. foreign businesses, and American Citizens Abroad advocates working to persuade Congress that the tax law should include residence-based taxation for individuals as well, the organization said.

The organization said that the first step is to compute the cost to the U.S. Treasury if residency-based taxation is put in place. The organization seeks to create a proposal that does not cost the United States any money, being so-called revenue neutral.

The organization representatives have been meeting with individual members of Congress for years on this topic. The organization also proposes to simplify or eliminate those pesky reports of foreign bank accounts and corporations.

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Some schools need board members

The public education ministry is in an apparent desperate search of volunteers willing to join the Costa Rican public school boards and thus, help the development of education.

The Costa Rican elementary and secondary schools are required by law to have boards of at least five people. However, since this is an unpaid position, many citizens could have a low interest to take part in them, despite their importance in the achievement of educational goals.

“These boards are in charge of managing the whole budget received by the school. They are the ones who approve what can be done with it and where to focus the resources, says Andrea Calabaceta, the director of Fundación Gente, a non-profit organization hired by the ministry to tackle this problem.

Ms. Calabaceta says that many people have the time and the expertise to help the education in their communities but they don’t know how. She also believes that the lack of volunteers is also a consequence of poor communication.

“The requirements to be a member are really easy to comply with. You just have to be over 18 and know how to read and write. The positions can be filled either by Costa Ricans or legal residents with their Cédula de Residencia.” Ms. Calabaceta explained.

“There are so many things people can get involved with, and so many needs. We also invite people to collaborate with their local schools, even though if they don’t want to belong to a board.” she added.

According to Ms. Cabalceta, there is an estimate of 25,000 school board members in the country so far. Those who would like to join one could sign up HERE.

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Cybercrime bill may get final approval

Lawmakers soon will be asked to give second and final approval to the international Convention on Cybercrime. The measure has been in the legislature since 2012, and the agreement itself came into being back in 2001.

Basically the agreement requires Costa Rica to work with investigators of other countries to fight cybercrimes such as extortion, theft of data, copyright infringement, child pornography, identity theft and other digital violations.

The agreement also requires Costa Rica to adjust its existing laws as much as possible to those of other countries. The agreement originated in the European Union, but many countries not members of that union also have accepted the convention.

There has been some criticism. One controversial section of the convention would require Costa Rica to set up a system so that internet providers obtain or otherwise copy material set by their customers. The  convention might also be more protective of personal data.

Costa Rica has passed a number of laws and accepted two international agreements that  penalize most of the cyber crimes. Legislative technicians have compared the existing laws with what the convention would require. There are not many differences, but a lot would depend on how the central government and judiciary implement any changes.

The Council of Europe created additional rules two years after the original agreement came into force in 2004. Costa Rica will have the option of adopting this protocol, too. That addition requires criminalization of racist or xenophobic material.

Casa Presidencial hosted a forum on the convention Thursday where representatives from the Council of Europe, the Organization of American States and the Judicial Investigating Organization urged adoption.

Adoption has been delayed since initial passage because most of the government ministries were given the opportunity to evaluate and make comments on the bill, No. 18.484.

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First Central American space satellite to be developed in Costa Rica

The Central American space program delivered the components of the first Central American satellite for development to the Tecnológico de Costa Rica Wednesday.

Over the next six months, researchers at the institution will be responsible to develop, verify and program the different systems, according to a release issued by the technological institute. This represents a huge first for the Central American region and for Costa Rica, according to Paola Vega, the vice rector of research at the Tecnológico.

“From the moment we receive the pieces, we have to carry out more than 30 development activities. All systems are going to be verified that they operate automatically here in the country, and in addition they will be connected to verify that each of the systems work properly,” said Adolfo Chaves.

He is one of the engineering professors who will be working on the project.

Some of the components that will be tested on the satellite include the computers, communications, solar panels, antennas and the power system.

Proyecto Irazú is the first satellite in history for Costa Rica and the rest of Central America. The purpose of the satellite is to collect data related to carbon fixation and the growth of melina trees, according to the institute.

Additionally, the satellite will monitor how trees in Costa Rica’s forests and jungle are reacting within a state of climate change facing the world today.

Proposed graphic of the new satellite.

Proposed graphic of the new satellite.

Particularly, the sequestration of carbon in relation to these forests is a priority for examination.

The data collected from this satellite is expected to be examined at the monitoring station of Tecnológico de Costa Rica in the main campus at Cartago.

Following the verification stage, the components of the satellite will then move to the Zona Franca del Coyol in Alajuela. The satellite will be launched from Japan, according to the institute.

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Skate Girls Costa Rica event seeks gender inclusion through sport

Parque La Libertad is calling all female skateboarders to come out for the next three upcoming Saturdays. During those dates, the park will host the very first installment of the Skate Girls Costa Rica championship.

The event is being organized by Cero Tímida, a company that encourages and promotes women’s sporting activities, along with park officials. The competition will begin this Saturday and end on April 8, organizers said.

The three judges are apparently well-known figures in the local skating scene.

They include: Stephanie Leitón, who comes with at least seven years of experience as a skater; Josafat Marchena, apparently known for his agility and technique on a skateboard, and Bryan Muñoz, who has been teaching people how to skate at Parque La Libertad for at least three years.

“This competition reinforces the vision of Parque La Libertad as an inclusive space,” said Luis Acuña, the youth manager at the park.

“Women’s participation will be validated from two perspectives: empowering young women in public and sports spaces and young men who can see them as people who are actively involved and have the right to do so.”

Acuña hopes that the competition will allow both genders to see that skating is not just a boy’s club. Karla Alfaro, the representative for the organizer Zero Tímida said that the competition will consist of two qualifying rounds before the championship event on the last Saturday.

Participants will skate in pairs for a minute each, while judges will evaluate their performance on a scale of one to 15, according to organizers.

Skaters come together in mutual respect for this event.

Skaters come together in mutual respect for this event.

Interested skaters need not worry as the competition will further divide persons based on skill level so a relatively new skater does not face someone on an advanced level, according to the group.

Either way, the purpose of the competition is for coexistence and an opportunity for women who practice skateboarding to have an open space, Ms. Alfaro said.

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El Niño conditions may develop again

If another El Niño develops this year, there will be less rain again along the Pacific coast and more rain along the Caribbean, according to the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

Last year saw the prolonged El Niño cause a drought along the Pacific and points inland, and the government declared an emergency. Now the conditions are considered neutral.

The weather institute noted in a posting Thursday night that Pacific Ocean waters are warming and that the warmer Atlantic Ocean temperatures were moving toward normal. These are signs of a coming El Niño.

The agency’s estimate is that in the south Pacific coast, the season will change by the  end of the month. The central Pacific will see a change around April 21 to 25. The seasonal change for the Central Valley is estimated for May 11 to 15, and the north Pacific will see a change May 26 to 30, said the weather institute. Depending on the strength of any new El Niño, the Pacific coast may see a rain deficit of from 10 to 20 percent, said the agency.

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Somali with possible terror link detained

Possible ties with international terrorism led to the arrest of a Somalian man Wednesday by Fuerza Pública officers at the Centro de Atención Temporal a Migrantes, located in Guanacaste.

According to police reports, the man, who identified himself as Ibrahim Qoordheem, entered the country through Paso Canoas, the border between Costa Rica and Panamá in the southeast side of the country.

He then claimed to be a refugee seeking to reach the United States and was relocated to the immigration camp in Guanacaste, according to officials. That is where he was further questioned and had his name checked against an undisclosed database that labeled him as a possible terrorist.

In order to confirm their suspicion, authorities got in touch with the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who, in turn, verified the possible ties of the man with international terrorism. These ties were not confirmed, but merely suspicions on the part of the involved governments.

He was taken into custody and remains at the immigration lockup in Hatillo.

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Israeli man murdered in Sabana Sur area

Apparent robbers shot and killed a 48-year old Israeli man Thursday morning in the Sabana Sur district of San José Centro.

A preliminary report from the Judicial Investigating Organization said the man was coming out of an apartment when several unidentified individuals apparently attempted to rob him around 5:30 a.m.

The details are still under investigation, but what is known is that the assailants shot the victim four times in both the torso and the head. The assailants then fled, according to officials.

The man’s body was taken to the judicial morgue for an autopsy to be performed while the investigation continues.

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U.S. citizen arrested on artifact violation

Some of the artifacts confiscated during the raid.

Some of the artifacts confiscated during the raid.

Judicial agents detained a 69-year old U.S. citizen Thursday on suspicions that he was selling archaeological finds.

According to a preliminary report, the man is accused of violating the historical heritage act. The law, among other stipulations, lets the government intervene for the purpose of preventing the destruction or deterioration of artifacts or other property deemed historically or culturally valuable.

A complaint was filed back in December by the Museo Nacional’s cultural protection department. It claimed that the suspect was selling these pieces online for around $200 each.

Officers of the Delitos Varios section arranged the arrest and confiscation of around nine such claimed artifacts valued at around $1,500, agents said.

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U.S. citizen under investigation for alleged fraud

A U.S citizen and a Costa Rican politician are under judicial investigation for an alleged fraud involving the sale of fake permits to grow marijuana for medical purposes.

The complaint was filed on March 8, in Garabito, Puntarenas, by an Israeli man and his Costa Rican wife. In it, they describe that a man named Frank Reeves and his partner, Gerald Murray, supposedly charged them $25,000 for a false certificate that would allow them to grow marijuana for health related purposes until 2020.

According to the complaint, the couple was first approached by a third man via email who affirmed he worked for a company named GreenLeaf Holdings Technologies. That person also claimed that as of December 2016, Costa Rica would approve the legalization of the plant and the permits would cost as much as $1 million.

To get the money, Reeves and Murray apparently opened up a bank account under the name of their company and asked the payment to be split into several deposits. According to Costa Rica regulations, any deposit or withdrawal exceeding $10,000 must be declared before fiscal authorities.

In exchange, the accused parties would have given the investors paperwork similar to that used by Ministerio de Salud, and it was allegedly signed by María Esther Anchía, the vice minister for health.

The document also granted the possibility to grow up to 300,000 marihuana plants.

The document also reads that most of the negotiations took place in Jacó in the province of Puntarenas.

The Poder Judicial confirmed a criminal complaint has been filed.

A.M. Costa Rica tried to contact Frank Reeves, but he was unreachable and apparently out of the country.

In the case of Murray, he refused to talk.  Murray did release a statement on his Facebook page. There, he denies all the charges and says he will sue the people who spread rumors.

He also implied that the only company in Costa Rica with a permit to process cannabis could be in charge of destroying his reputation.

Murray has been involved in the writing of a bill seeking to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. That bill is currently under discussion in the legislature. Last year, Murray also announced that he will seek a presidential candidacy for the 2018 elections.

The bill No. 19.256 would also allow citizens to grow cannabis for personal, and industrial purposes.

So far, the bill is under discussion in committee for examination at the Asamblea Legislativa. Once an agreement is reached on the draft, it will be discussed by the 57 lawmakers.

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Weekend sport events hit the waves and the field

Professional surfers are ready to hit the waves following a two month hiatus and Costa Rica’s national soccer team prepares for what is being called an epic battle against México tonight at 7:50.

If expats do not already know the importance of this game for many Costa Rican soccer fans, they are sure to learn tonight as aficionados become glued to their television screens, and the match’s results could either make or break a night for fans rooting for Costa Rica across the entire country.

The match tonight represents the third round of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. This is a qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association touts this match as Costa Rica’s toughest competitor yet. More so that the game will be played on México’s home turf in the Estadio Azteca.

Currently, Costa Rica is first in the confederation rankings with an undefeated record of two wins, no losses or ties. México ranks right behind with one win so far and one tie with no losses, according to the rankings. The United States is in last place with two losses by comparison.

After two months of no official surf competitions, the national circuit is about to begin again this coming Saturday morning in Limón’s Puerto Viejo. More than the competition, however, the second date in this year’s surfing season only leads to one place: the World Cup in France.

Thursday, the Federación de Surf made the call to the first group of surfers in the national pre-selection. These are the surfers that the federation deemed to be at the highest level in the country, according to organizers for the Circuito Nacional.

Top surfers are expected at Playa Cocles.

Top surfers are expected at Playa Cocles.

This weekend, the competition will be at Playa Cocles and organizers believe that the waves will be at shoulder height to help surfers get the highest score as much as bragging rights.

The competition will begin at 7 in the morning on Saturday and Sunday.

Later on Saturday night, the Hotel La Costa de Papito will be hosting live music free of charge to all those who want to attend.

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Expotur event returns to Costa Rica this May

Some expats may want to mark their calendars in anticipation of the 33rd annual Expotur being held this coming May.

Organized by the Asociación Costarricense de Profesionales en Turismo, the Exposición Turismo is an opportunity for attendees to network with other professionals in the Costa Rican tourism industry.

It represents a large-scale exhibition of the tourism industry. The event will be held for two days on May 10 until May 12 at the Centro Kolbi in Parque Viva, Alajuela Centro, organizers said.

Registration for the event can be done early by going to the event’s website. The cost of registering to gain admission is $200 per person at the regular rate, according to the website.

That is if one is a buyer, which is generally an international representative who is a member of a business or other organization within the tourism sector. Registration as a seller for the Expo is also completed via the website.

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National archives wants more records

The Costa Rican national archives is opening its doors for persons to contribute documents and records for registration as sources to the public benefit.

El Programa de Memoria del Mundo is a heritage program assigning three levels to contributions based on the importance nationally, regionally, or worldwide.

The program has been officially endorsed by the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. The inauguration of the program will be Friday morning at the Archivo Nacional building.

Examples of documents already being registered include the declaration of the abolition of the army as well as the death register from the Campaign of 1856.

The new register will also accept digital submissions as well. The purpose of this registration, officials said, is to further strengthen the protection of these documents for posterity.

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Caja establishes mental health squads

The Costa Rican social security fund will strengthen this year the strategy implemented in 2016 to fight the mental, behavioral and addictive disorders.

The strategy consists in intervention squads where therapies might be just for the individual, the family or a group. These squads include not only psychologists, but also social workers, nurses, and general doctors. The team of professionals in charge of the patient come together and then deliver a more comprehensive treatment.

Consultation can last up to 120 minutes and the patient is taken care of when needed instead of being put on a waiting list. Other changes are related to opening hours, as this type of consultation starts around 11a.m. and may end at 7 p.m.

This year, 11 new intervention teams will join the four already existing and will be installed in areas considered to be at risk such as La Anexión de Nicoya, San Carlos, Siquirres, and Puntarenas.

A third group will also be trained to work in the Carlos Durán and Marcial Rodríguez clinics, Fernando Escalante Padilla Hospital in Perez Zeledon and Hospital de Cañas in Guanacaste.

According to data by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, 6,509 people were granted short term disabilities due to mental and behavioral disorders in 2016.

In 2014, mental disorders involving schizophrenia reached 215 and San José accounted for 113 out of those. For bipolar disorder, there were 152 cases and the age group most affected was 70 to 74 years, according to the latest Ministerio de Salud report.

As for depression, 41,576 new cases were reported in 2014, and 74-percent occurred in women, which may be associated with domestic violence, unemployment and harsh financial conditions.

The highest rates of depression are in Vásquez de Coronado, Palmares, San José and Cañas, according to the same report.

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Tamarindo residents seek to expand image to more than sun and surf

Quietly but consistently, the city of Tamarindo in the northwest area of Guanacaste, is expanding its profile beyond its common image of sun, beaches and surf.

This well-established tourist destination is opening up to new visitor’s profiles and more diverse markets.

“I’ve had a steady market since 2009 and it keeps growing.” says Meghan Cox, who is in the business of marrying couples in this part of the country.

She runs her own company called Mil Besos Costa Rica, and provides wedding planning services for customers coming mainly from Canada and the United States who find Costa Rica as an exotic destination to seal their love.

“Costa Rica is attractive because the culture is very similar to that of the United States and Canada. It is considered an exotic destination, is not that far away and makes people feel safe. This is very important because each couple arrives with its own troop of guests, some of which may not be experienced travelers.” said Ms. Cox.

According to this businesswoman, each marriage implies an average of 60 people for five to seven days coming as guests.

All these tourists are offered accommodation, meals, the wedding ceremony and trips around the country.

“It is very appealing the fact that everything is close, so visitors are able to visit volcanoes, beaches and rainforest without too much hassle.” she explained.

Contrary to more traditional market niches, the wedding tourism industry doesn’t deal with the perils of low seasons. There is enough love in the air all throughout the year.

“Tamarindo is becoming stronger in this market and we are working to make ourselves better as a destination,” said Hernán Imhoff, president of Cámara de Comercio y Turismo de Tamarindo. “This is a privileged area and the constant flow of wedding tourists really helps during low seasons” he adds.

A.M. Costa Rica asked for statistics about this market from the Costa Rica tourism board. However, no data was provided three days after the request.

“Tamarindo is not only a party place for young people, we want to change that label and show that our city can also be

a cultural destination.”says Griet Depypere, president of the Tamarindo Arts Foundation.

Glass piece by Valerie Rey to be showcased Saturday.

Glass piece by Valerie Rey to be showcased Saturday.

The organization was founded in 2015 and it is run by a group of seven people who live in the area. They also seek to make Tamarindo more appealing to different profiles of visitors, those who might be older, calmer and with higher purchase power.

The group also aims to provide kids access to visual and performing arts, specially those who attend public primary schools with no art classes.

“We are also interested in attracting artists who might eventually deliver workshops in the community” added Mrs. Depypere.

In fact, to fulfill their mission, this coming Saturday the foundation is hosting a visual arts exhibit at 4 p.m at Centro Garden Plaza.

The event will not only showcase the talent of local and international visual artists, but will also include dance, theater, gastronomy and music.

Several renowned films will also be displayed and kids will have the chance to attend artistic workshops. All of the activities will be for free.

That’s how local entrepreneurs, citizens and neighbors have all come together in an alliance to show a different angle of their beloved Tamarindo.

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Italian tourist recovers his stolen items

An Italian tourist was lucky enough to recover his belongings after they were stolen by an unknown person last Tuesday in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, in the Caribbean province of Limón.

According to the police report, a group of people apparently saw the thief take the belongings of the Italian traveler and gave notice to the police officers who were patrolling the area.

After a two hour search, officers found the belongings but did not find the man that stole them. According to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, the Italian man seemed happy enough for getting his stuff back.

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New agreement advances access to info

Leaders of the four branches of government announced an agreement Wednesday to advance public access to information.

The theory is that transparency and citizen participation would work against corruption and promote innovation, according to Casa Presidencial.

Open government has been a continual theme of the Luis Guillermo Solís administration as well as the Poder Judicial. The legislature has been criticized recently for lack of access, so José Alberto Alfaro Jiménez, president of the Asamblea Legislativa, reaffirmed his commitment to openness Wednesday.

Also there was Zarela Villanueva, president of the Corte Suprema de Justicia, but according to a summary by Casa Presidencial, she stopped short of endorsing information openness.

The summary said she promised openness in institutional management, reporting official progress periodically, opening a space for citizen participation and an administration of trustworthy and effective justice.

In fact, the Corte Suprema has taken steps to reduce the information given to citizens. For example, last month the Sala IV constitutional section of the court ordered the judiciary to hide the names of individuals who have been banned from leaving the country due to back child support. The Sala IV accepted the appeal that said this knowledge would humiliate those listed on the site and violate their right to intimacy.

The Corte Suprema did not object strongly when lawmakers passed a bill that  restricts the judicial archives from including many convictions in criminal cases. The judiciary is empowered to emit what is known as a hoja a delincuencia. The document even can be ordered via the internet.

But the new law allows all but those convicted of the most serious crimes to clean their record, sometimes immediately upon completing the sentence. Employers have relied on these criminal records during the hiring process. But now many criminal convictions become secret after the sentence has been served.

That is supposed to rehabilitate criminals who now will not be barred from accepting confidential positions because they have a clean criminal record.

Most expats know that in Costa Rica criminal and civil court records are closed to all but those involved in the cases. Trials are open, but only a small number of cases actually get that far.

And many times when a summary of a court decision is made public, the names of those involved are removed. Investigators, those involved in loans and mortgages and investors have complained about this because they cannot find out sufficient information to do what are known as due diligence reports on the credit worthiness of individuals with whom they may make deals.

This lack of information creates a culture where court information is a valuable commodity. Two years ago one judicial worker was detained on the allegation that he accessed confidential records. What happened next is unknown because the criminal court records are closed.

The Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones is where birth, death and marriage records are kept. That fourth branch of government has had a web page for years that can provide that information. This is the agency that issues cédulas of identity as well as runs the elections. The government branch was represented Wednesday by Luis Antonio Sobrado González, president.

In February the executive branch issued a draft of a freedom-of-information decree designed to give more access to official activity.

The decree would require government agencies to maintain a web page with 20 types of detailed information on its functioning. Among other data, the agency must publish on the site salaries and information and costs of any trips made by employees. The agency also must publish a list of any money disbursed as grants, scholarships or similar to any person.

The decree also would require agencies to designate a freedom-of-information officer to respond to complaints.

The decree says that agencies have to respond to public requests for information within 10 days unless the request is very complicated.  In that case, more time is allowed.

The penalty for public employees who do not provide information is vague and based on unstated established administrative sanctions.

The agreement among the branches of government is pretty abstract and urges an institutional culture of openness and collaboration. It also urged the inclusion of marginalized groups and seems to promote heavy use of web pages to provide the data.

Casa Presidencial already has such a page with salaries and contracts, but with so much data reading it takes a lot of time. Reporters often complain about how hard they must work to obtain any information more than the laudatory press releases issued by government agencies.

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Hacienda expects new law’s funds going to deficit

The finance ministry seems to expect that new money earned from the corporate tax law will go toward paying off the country’s deficit. The income earned from it also has seemingly dropped since initial estimates were made.

Representatives from the Ministerio de Hacienda, including Helio Fallas, the first vice president, claimed that 20 billion colons, or around $36 million, are expected to be earned from the recent tax law.

The statement was strange as the bill and the law itself is supposed to provide funds to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública for more investment in the police forces.

Last Thursday, lawmakers approved the new tax for the second and final time necessary. In spite of Hacienda’s claims, the tax was originally expected to raise 45 billion colons, or about $81 million, from entities registered with the government.

This is one of those dedicated taxes that are not part of the national budget. The security ministry will get 90 percent of the proceeds, and the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz and the Judicial Investigating Organization will each get 5 percent, according to the law.

Even though the money does not go into the general budget, the original bill said that “the fiscal crisis that faces the country has sharpened and the fiscal deficit reaches levels that require drastic and urgent measures.” The law also says that one purpose is to reduce the indiscriminate creation of corporations that can be used for tax evasion or avoidance.

Many expats hold ownership in their homes and motor vehicles through establishing a corporation, usually a sociedad anónima or a sociedad de responsabilidad limitada. They are abbreviated S.A. and S.R.L.

The law exempts taxation of small businesses registered as such with the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio. Other corporations are assessed based on their level of gross income.

A stipulation in the law says that those who owe back taxes on corporations can pay the money without penalty for three months after the law is published in La Gaceta the official newspaper. That takes place after President Luis Guillermo Solís signs it.

The law goes into effect three months after the first day of the month following its publication. Then a proportional amount of taxes are due within the next 30 days for 2017. One stipulation is that the amount paid in taxes cannot be listed as a deduction for income taxes.

In other words, corporations will have to pay taxes on the money they paid in taxes. The proposed law also provides a way for members of corporation boards of directors and other officers to resign without penalty.

Like many fines and government payments, the proposed tax is determined by the base salary that is in effect. This year the amount is 426,200 colons or about $767.

This is the monthly salary listed for a specific job in the Poder Judicial, so the amount will increase each year.

Inactive corporations, that is those that have no economic activity, would pay 15 percent of the base salary for the annual tax. Costa Rican corporate entities and local branches of foreign corporations with gross income of less than 250 times the base salary would pay 30 percent.

Companies with gross income of 250 times the base salary or more would pay 60 percent of a base salary.

Companies with economic activity most likely would pass these costs on to their customers. The payment this year would be half the amount for a full year.

Aside from the platitudes on how the government is earning more money than it is spending, Fallas and company clearly sought to show off the new electronic invoicing system now being set up. The finance ministry also wants four bills in the legislature calling for additional money to be passed.

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