The luxury home tax due again, finance ministry reminds owners

Some expats may have forgotten about the luxury home tax, but the finance ministry has not.

The tax collecting agency issued a reminder Wednesday that the tax is due by Jan. 15.

Homeowners are supposed to declare the value of their property every three years, and they were supposed to do so last year, the fourth year that the tax was collected. The ministry said that only owners of new construction and property that has been acquired since the last declaration need to complete this paperwork.

The assessments range from a low of a quarter of a percent to 55 of percent.

The Ministerio de Hacienda maintains several electronic systems for paying the tax on its Web site.

When the tax went into effect in 2009 homes and land with a value greater than $172,000 were subject to the tax. Now the cutoff point is 121 million colons or about $242,000.

The threshold value increases each year as the prices of materials and land does the same. The tax base of the property does, too, because it is tied to material costs.

In 2013 only 4,500 property owners paid the tax, the ministry said. The ministry said that there is a 189,700-colon penalty for non payment. However, the penalty is half a base salary, and that amount has been raised in December, so the penalty is 199,700 colones or about $405.

The ministry said it hopes to collect about 4.3 billion colons from the tax, which is supposed to be dedicated to housing for the poor. That is about $8.6 million, which the ministry said is about 10 percent greater than the previous year.

The ministry did not mention the corporate tax in its reminder, but that is due by the end of the month. That tax, too, is keyed to half a base salary just as the luxury home penalty is.

The base salary is that of a judicial worker.  The Poder Judicial said before Christmas that the base salary will be 399,400 colons. The law that created the tax specified that active corporations will pay one half a base salary.  That amount is 199,700 colons for active corporations and half that, 99,850 colons, for inactive ones.

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