Notaries have been put on notice that they have to affiliate with the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social. If they do not, they will be unable to work as a notary, said the Dirección Nacional de Notariado, the regulating agency.
Notaries are lawyers with more education who have the right to draft legal documents and validate them.
The Consejo Superior Notarial ruled last month that notaries must adhere to Artícle 74 of the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social law. That law basically says that persons who are involved in independent activities or unsalaried work have to be up to date in their payments to the Caja. Salaried workers already are registered with the Caja, and payments are made on their behalf by employers.
The Dirección Nacional de Notariado said that it would verify that all notaries are registered with the Caja and that their payments are up to date. Those who are not will be subject to an action to strip them of their notary rights.
This is the second financial demand on notaries in the last three months. In June, notaries were advised that the monthly amount that they pay to a guarantee fund would be raised, the first time since 1998. In addition, the monthly amount will be indexed to inflation.
The fund accumulates money to compensate those who can show they have suffered financial damage due to the actions of a notary.
The monthly fee goes from 7,016 colons a month to 12,500 colons as of Jan. 1. That increase was negotiated by Allan Garro of Garro Law, himself a notary, who thought that citizens would be protected better by a larger guarantee fund.
Monthly fees to the Caja are determined by income. Notaries will have to present tax returns or other financial information for the Caja to determine monthly payments.
The Caja ruling is expected to cause notaries who are not seriously involved in their profession to resign.
Many expats in Costa Rica are affiliated with the Caja as voluntarily insured or asegurado voluntario. But if an individual is involved in some form of work, he or she is classified as an independent worker or trabajador independiente if not on a company’s payroll.
This would include many other professions in addition to notaries. The cash-strapped Caja is on the hunt for such individuals.