Business chamber expresses concern over tax proposal

The nation’s business chamber said that its officials believe that a legislative committee acted prematurely in closing hearings on a new tax bill and sending it to the full legislature.

The Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Hacendarios did that with votes from the partidos Liberación Nacional, Acción Ciudadana and Accesibilidad Sin Exclusión.

The chamber said in a release Friday that many issues have not been settled. Among these is the way taxes will be applied to the tourism sector.

Fernando Herrero Acosta, the finance minister, said in an earlier meeting of the committee, that tourism would get special benefits under the proposed tax law. But the chamber, the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado, said that tourism appears to be neglected in the text.

In addition, the chamber expressed concern that although public transport is supposed to be exempted from the tax, the imposition of the 14 percent value-added tax on fuel and other transport expenses will result in higher fares.

The business chamber also said that the committee lacked clarity in efforts to apply taxes to the free zones. Companies located there on the promise of tax-free operations for export. The latest draft of the tax bill will assess a 15 percent tax on money remitted to foreign parent companies in 2015 and later. The bill also would allow municipalities to tax the operations.

The chamber also expressed concern about the imposition of the value added tax on bank commissions on automatic teller withdrawals and for credit card transactions.

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