The rush generated by individuals who wish to resign from Costa Rican corporations has created a people jam at the Registro Nacional.
Monday is the last day that someone who is a responsible party in a corporation can remove him or herself without penalty. Many are doing so to duck the annual corporate tax. Some individuals have not paid the tax for three years, and they do not want to be the target of official collection efforts.
The tax is about $380 for an active corporation, and the tax has been in effect for three years. The law creating the tax also allowed the resignations, so many persons who hold corporations and have not paid the tax are using the escape clause in the law.
One of those is an expat , who wrote in a letter to A.M. Costa Rica earlier in the month that she was thrilled to find out that the corporation had been eliminated by the Registro Nacional.
“Last week the Ministerio de Hacienda said my S.A. doesn’t exist, and so I must not owe taxes! They gave me a stamped computer printout saying the S.A. didn’t exist,” she said Thursday.
“Now I am unhappy! Today I looked online at the Registro Nacional, and I found out the S.A. does exist and I owe $430, including interest!
I don’t know why the Ministerio de Hacienda didn’t know this. And, according to an attorney, it must exist if the Registro Nacional says it does!”
She said she is not sure she can get the paperwork together to resign from the empty corporation by Monday. She said she has been told that the tax may never be collected even if she fails to resign due to what she said was the inefficiencies and lack of sophistication of the systems here.
That may be incorrect. The Registro Nacional and the Ministerio de Hacienda now have sophisticated computer systems. And they have said they plan to use them as soon as court challenges to the law are resolved.
The law empowers government workers to bypass the protection afforded by a corporation and go directly to the personal assets of those who hold the responsibility. If the corporation has assets, they are prepared to auction them off.
The wait at the Registro is being compounded by lawyers and notaries who are arriving with stacks of resignation documents. Each has to be handled separately and required fees paid individually. One expat said he had to wait two hours Wednesday to get his turn to present the papers of resignation.