Grinches at Hacienda ministry are on the prowl for Christmas purchases

The Ministerio de Hacienda has embarked on a pre-Christmas campaign to snag sales tax from shoppers who buy through the Internet.

The ministry also includes the Servicio Nacional de Aduanas.

The ministry said that its campaign was to help shippers buy products securely through the Internet.

In other words, if they try to duck the customs charges or sales tax, the ministry might grab their purchases.

That happened four years ago when the Aduana unexpectedly cracked down on Christmas packages that were being delivered by mail.  The result was thousands of confiscated packages.

The ministry said that shoppers should only use import firms that are registered.  The ministry also urged residents to file complaints against individuals and firms that might not be following the law.

Hacienda still has not figured out how to assess sales tax on Internet downloads.

A lot of software, including violent video games, are available with the click of a mouse.  Lawmakers are trying to outlaw violence video games, but they have not addressed the internet issue.

Of course, the Hacienda warnings will not affect wealthy Costa Ricans and some expats who do their Christmas shopping in Miami, Atlanta or New York and who then are allowed to bring back items duty-free.

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