Those downtown Friday might find that their favorite eating places are closed.
Inspectors from the Tributación Directa, the tax agency, fanned out in the downtown Wednesday and applied seals on some of the better known eating places for alleged failure to comply with the regulations.
At least three well known restaurants were closed up. They included Manolo on Avenida Central between calls 9 and 11, La Criolito on Avenida 7 across the street and just west of the Instituto Costarricense de Seguros building, and Chelles, the 24-hour gathering spot on the corner of Calle 9 and the pedestrian mall.
The official actions had nothing to do with the quality of the food. That is in the domain of the Ministerio de Salud. Businesses can get into trouble with the tax authorities by failing to file a monthly sales tax report or by failing to file income tax reports. In addition, some restaurants cheat on their sales tax by failing to issue invoices or facturas when they collect for a meal.
Francisco Villalobos, the director of the tax agency, is a proponent of credit cards because retailers cannot cheat on their income if the money goes through a card issuer and a bank and creates a paper trail.
The closings Wednesday were part of a campaign by the tax agency to change the Costa Rican culture relating to payment of taxes.