Court halts government from skimming credit card transactions

A court has delayed for a time the tax agency’s plan to skim a percentage of credit card sales.

The Cámara de Comercio de Costa Rica said it received notice from the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo that the plan was being put on hold. The chamber had appealed to the court on behalf of its commercial sector.

The Dirección General de Tributación said in August that it was asking banks to withhold 2 percent of every credit or debit card transaction. That was supposed to begin Oct. 1.

The money that was to be retained is supposed to be applied to future income tax payments. If the amount is in excess of what the taxpayer owes at the end of the year, the balance is supposed to be returned.

The chamber noted in a press release that it attempted to reach an agreement with the tax agency and said it even sent letters that were not answered.

The tax agency is promoting the use of credit card debit cards because it can then keep track of sales and income from taxpayers.

Although the 2 percent does not seem like a lot of money, expats and others in the tourism business said that the retention would negatively affect their financial stability.

Any action from the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo can be appealed.

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