It’s a real education trying to file the annual and bothersome cultural tax

Expats who still have Costa Rican corporations have to pay that bothersome educational and culture tax by next Monday.

This is the tax that ranges from 750 colons to 9,000 colons that is assessed every year on active and inactive corporations.

There are fewer corporations this year because many expats have dumped theirs so they do not have to pay the more substantial  $370 annual tax for an active corporation.

Time was just three years ago, when the educational and cultural tax was the only one corporation owners had to pay if they were not engaged in commerce.

The tax is called in Spanish the Timbre de Educación y Cultura. Like many taxes, the corporation owner must use the special computer system of the Dirección General de Tributación. There may be ways of paying the tax online, but the tax agency does not say so on its Web site.

Instead, it says that corporation owners must print out a paper D-110 form using the  EDDI-7 program. This is the same program used to file sales tax and annual income tax reports. The program is free from the tax agency, but workers there keep updating the program repeatedly, and sometimes bugs are introduced. The EDDI-7 produces a personalized form for the specific corporation using bar codes.

Once the form is printed out, the corporation owner takes it and cash to a bank, probably Banco de Costa Rica, although other banks, but not all, accept the payment.

The amount is based on the net capital of the corporation. But failing a Costa Rican degree in accounting, many just pay the highest amount, 9,000 colons, which is today about $16.70.

The computer program is available on machines at the tax agency and its branches, but all accountants and some lawyers have the program on their machines.

Taxpayers are benefiting from the stronger dollar to pay less than they would have had they done so in early February.

Any taxes that are not paid are tracked by the tax agency and become inflated with penalties and interest, sometimes foe years. So wise expats keep receipts forever.

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