Bill to prevent employers from ducking Caja charges

Death and taxes are supposed to be certainties, and now lawmakers are about to add to the list payments to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

A bill that may be considered as early as today will make money owned by employers to the Caja collectible forever. This is No. 17.954.

Henry Mora Jiménez, president of the Asamblea Legislative, listed this bill among others that are considered consensus measures. That is, the political parties represented in the legislature have said they will support them.

A summary of the bill said that courts have been considering Caja payments to be subject to a 10-year statute of limitation. The bill seeks to remove this cap, which also can be found in the laws governing the Caja.

José María Villalta Florez-Estrada of Frente Amplio introduced the measure in January 2011. The fragile finances of the Caja have been an issue for years.

The same measure also increases to three years the current two-year limit on taking criminal action on an employer who withholds payment of the social security monthly payments.

The payments cover an employee for illness, maternity, disability, old age and death. The amounts are based on a percentage of an employee’s salary, and the employee pays a part as a payroll deduction.

Mora listed 15 other measures on which the political parties have agreed. Among these is No.18.718, which changes the tax on motels, massage parlors and other places designed for a sexual rendezvous.

Currently, such facilities pay a 30 percent tax every time one of the rooms is used. The money goes to the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social, a major anti–poverty agency. Lawmakers said there is too much wiggle room in assessing this tax because a room may be used several times a day. And, according to the summary of the bill, customers are not demanding official receipts.

So the new measure would assess a tax of 9 to 12 percent of a base salary per room per month. The base salary is nearly 400,000 colons. The percentage depends on the number of rooms in the establishment.

Over five years the country has collected 339 million colons in tax, about $605,000. However, the amount fluctuates drastically,

Lawmakers also will be seeing legislation for rebuilding Ruta 32 from Limón to Río Frio and one for a national development bank.

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