Tax agency finds many merchants who are failing to follow the law

The tax agency and the tax police went shopping during June and the early days of this month and found 2,500 cases of merchants who were violating the law in some ways.

Nearly 1,000 failed to provide the appropriate receipts, facturas, for purchases. Some 45 firms were just not enrolled as taxpayers.

The agency, the Dirección General de Tributación, said that 40 percent of the establishment in some way were violating the law. The businesses visited were in  Puntarenas, Guanacaste, Heredia,  Alajuela and the northern zone.

The penalties for these violations are relatively modest.

Failing to provide facturas results in a fine. A second offender’s business may be closed for up to five days, the agency said.

The receipts or facturas are a way that the agency has to check if a business is filing an honest tax return. Professionals soon will be asked to issue their facturas electronically by use of a central computer under the control of the tax agency.

The tax police also were on the lookout for retail items that may have been smuggled. The agency reported that in 19 cases there was confiscation of a product.

The tax agency has even set up a lottery that individuals can enter by providing copies of their facturas. The idea is that the tax agency will compare the factures with the existing records to check up on the firm that issued them.

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