The tax man takes nearly a quarter of Costa Rica’s gross domestic product, and the percentage has risen in 23 years from 16.1 to 23.6 in 2013, according to a report prepared by multiple international agencies.
During the same periods, Costa Rica has increased dramatically its government spending and financial deficit.
The government is expected to seek in a week or two more taxes.
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean said that the tax revenues in Latin America and the Caribbean have remained stable in 2013 and continue to be considerably lower, as a proportion of national incomes, than in most countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation mainly are high-tax European countries. Denmark, for example, takes 48.6 percent of the value of its citizens goods and services. The Organisation was one of a handful of international agencies that created the tax report.
In 2013 the gross domestic product of Costa Rica was $49.62 billion, according to the World Bank. In 1960, the amount was just $10.57 billion. So the tax take for the government was about $11.7 billion in 2013, according to the commission statistics.
Wide national variations exist across Latin American and Caribbean countries, said the commission, a U.N. agency. In 2013, the tax-to-gross domestic product ratios for the 20 countries of the region ranged from Brazil (35.7 percent) and Argentina (31.2 percent), to 14 percent in the Dominican Republic and 13 percent in Guatemala.
In 2013 Costa Rica with a 1.2 percent increase in the ratio was one of the four countries with the largest jump.
The report showed that tax revenues rose significantly across the Latin American and Caribbean region from 1990 to 2013.
The average tax to gross domestic product ratio increased by 7 percentage points, from 14.4 to 21.3 percent.
With strong growth over the past 20 years, general consumption taxes, mainly value-added and sales taxes, accounted for 32.3 percent of tax revenues in Latin American and Caribbean countries in 2012, the commission said.
The use of the tax-to-gross domestic product ratio is a way of making comparisons among countries. Over the period of the report, the country totals of the gross domestic products increased dramatically, too.
Costa Rica is seeking to become a member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The organization encourages a higher tax bite.