Expats wonder if they should pay the marchamo

Dec. 31 is the deadline for paying the annual marchamo or road tax without penalty.

The situation is confusing this year because a group of lawmakers, headed by Otto Guevara of Movimiento Libertario, has filed a Sala IV constitutional court appeal seeking to suspend the collection of the annual fees.

The appeal, filed Thursday, centers on the way in which the road taxes have been calculated by the government.

Some motorists have seen a major increase. As a result, some expats are wondering whether they should pay the requested amount. They figure that if the Sala IV orders new calculations they may never see a refund if they pay now.

Their concern is well founded on the difficulty of getting refunds and payments from government agencies.

The Instituto Nacional de Seguros, banks and insurance agencies are collecting the annual fees.

A parallel might be seen in the January court decision that ruled the corporation tax unconstitutional.

The Sala IV in that case said that the tax for 2015 should be paid even though it is unconstitutional.

The court frequently steps into the area of informal legislation and well outside purely judicial actions.

Failing to pay is expensive and generates fines of 10 percent a month up to 100 percent, plus additional fines and interest.

Then there is the fine if a traffic officer catches a motorist driving a vehicle with an expired marchamo. More information on the marchamo can be found HERE!

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