Underground economy targeted

The Ministerio de Hacienda, the budget agency, is expected to announce actions today against the country’s underground economy.

The ministry includes the tax collecting Dirección General de Tributación.

The size of the underground economy is not known. It is generally considered to be activities that are legal but do not pay taxes. That eliminates the inclusion of the drug trade.

Included are small businesses that never have paid taxes or do so grudgingly. That includes the nation’s 13 percent sales tax and the annual income tax. The underground economy also includes work performed by individuals who are not legally permitted to do so. Expats immediately think of tourists who work. But there also is a large contingent of Costa Ricans carrying out activities that would be considered medical, dental and other that require advanced study and licensing.

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