Property kept off the books robs country of tax money

I’m concerned with the whole issue of the new taxation of limited liability companies considering I own three of them. I see it as a nuisance and a cost that I’d rather not deal with since the LLCs are not being used at this time.

The concern is that I see a willingness of the government to tax those that are easy to find, that is those who have followed the rules. Just think about all those here in Costa Rica who do not pay their taxes on real estate and income. The Costa Rican system is extremely porous and relies on those who are willing to put their name on something. My neighbors own a lot of land and it is considered to be under the heading of “possession” and not “title”. For instance, I talked to the old man down the road, and he says he has a piece of paper somewhere showing he bought his land back in the early 1970s. I asked him about the taxes. He has never paid taxes because he does not have title and has never attempted to get title.

Obviously whoever does have title is not paying the taxes because they do not live there or work the land. These kinds of situations are everywhere here in Costa Rica. So many tax dollars have failed to appear because the system is structured all wrong and there is no attempt to find land owners.

Because of the liberal no-fault socialist laws that rule the roost here no one can be at fault for anything. Everyone is innocent of everything. I spoke to a woman who has a home north of Moín on a island. She wants to sell her very nice home. She, too, has a piece of paper. I asked her for her tax number or something in the national registry so I could look it up. She knows nothing about this process. She has never heard of the national registry, and she is a American that I presume is educated. She does have a attorney in Guápiles. He has her papers, has had them for five years, and the topic has never come up.

Who is going to pay the back taxes on her land? She bought it from a local. He says all these thousands of acres from Moín north to Nicaragua have no papers. There is no tax office, no police station, nothing but water taxies, farms and ranches.

I think that there are vast parcels of land in Costa Rica that is owned by the wealthy who also have refused to follow the rules and register their land holdings. Why? Because they don’t have to. No one cares and no one asks. After all, its in a rural area.

Could there be situations like this in our cities such as San José, Heredia, San Ramón? Of course, and who knows just how many properties are in dispute or lack a owner who is willing to have a attorney register the property in the national registry.

This could be a source of millions of dollars. Its a situation that is out of control and has been neglected. I think our legislators are going at the tax situation the easy way and chasing those who they can find easily. For those who do not pay their taxes I say “shame on you. you are contributing to the problem with your selfish ways.”

The present system encourages the knowledgeable to cheat. It’s kinda like the thief who robbed a couple in Cartago. He stole their jewelry, money and car. The masked gunman got away but was soon stopped and arrested by the police. When they made a court appearance on the charges of armed robbery, the judge let the suspect go because the victims could not identify his face due to the mask he was wearing. Now do not forget the police arrested the robber with the mask, the gun, the jewelry, the money, and the car. Oh well, let’s feel sorry for everyone till the whole system collapses.

Bruce Simpson
Hone Creek, Limón/Miami, Florida

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