The country’s tax authority says that it will begin collecting a $5 land exit tax Monday.
The agency also said that no one at the border crossings has the power to accept such payments, so travelers must pay their tax beforehand.
The agency, the Dirección General de Tributación, said Tuesday it had entered into an agreement with Banco Crédito Agrícola to handle the money the same way that the bank handles the airport exit tax. Within two weeks, the bank is supposed to have automatic machines to collect the tax from credit and debit cards and give receipts at Paso Canoas, Río Sereno-Sabalito, Sixaola and Peñas Blancas. These are the major crossings.
The exit tax can be paid ahead of time at branches of Coopealianza as well as the Banco Crédito Agrícola, said the ministry. Tour companies, travel agencies and some transport companies also will be selling the exit tax proof.
There will be a flood of Nicaraguans going to their country over Christmas, and the ministry is sure to rake in plenty of money. However, the agency said that anyone not having proof of payment of the tax will be denied exit.
Immigration agents are supposed to verify online the validity of any receipts showing the tax has been paid, said Tributación. Then there is supposed to be a system to prevent reuse of the payment slip. The tax can be paid in dollars or colons at the existing exchange rate. The money is supposed to be used to fix up the exit facilities.
Diplomats, truck drivers and bus drivers are exempt from the tax, said the agency.
The tax passed the legislature in July, but putting the levy into practice required the drafting of regulations.
Initially the tax was going to apply to cruise ship passengers arriving and leaving by boat. There also was talk of increasing the airport exit tax.