Government agencies fighting each other

The Costa Rican government is struggling to become a member of the Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development, which is pro-tax.

However, the Agencia de Protección de Datos de los Habitantes, created by a Costa Rican data privacy law, has issued a decision that runs counter to the government’s desires.

The Ministerio de Hacienda said Wednesday that the decision is a blow to its efforts to counter tax evasion and money laundering.

The decision involves a new web-based system to which large taxpayers are supposed to upload all their financial data.

The data protection agency is part of the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz, and that ministry issued a statement Wednesday noting that the decision is being appealed. It also said that the Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development also is in favor of data security.

The Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development, the tax collecting agency, is part of the Ministerio de Hacienda. This ministry would like to have access to the ownership information on all the corporations in the country. It says it needs this to prevent tax evasion.  The ministry is seeking passage of a bill in the legislature to give it this power.

The Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development has scheduled a review of Costa Rica’s submissions in September. The organization supports the transfer of tax information from one country to the next to prevent evasion, and also demands a number of actions on the part of Costa Rica.

The government said it believes that membership in the organization would enhance the prospects of development. The cost of joining the organization has not been made clear.

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