Today is the day to scramble to pay the marchamo road tax before interest and a penalty kick in at midnight.
Expats who have not paid really have to scramble because many of the locations where the annual road tax can be accepted are closed or employees are working just half a day today.
Failing to pay means the owner of a motor vehicle will not have a sticker to put on the windshield. Traffic police are alert to this during January, and the fine is about $100.
Then there is the immediate 10 percent monthly penalty and various interest charges for the obligatory motor vehicle insurance and property tax.
The main office of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros, which handles the payments, is closed today, but individual insurance brokerage offices may be open. State banks are closed, but private banks may be open half a day.
Those with electronic bank accounts probably can pay that way, and some banks even are offering promotions and credit plans for marchamo payments.
Some may need credit because the marchamo for a 15-year-old junker still can
be 70,000 colons, and owners of newer
vehicles might be paying a thousand dollars or more. The big bite is the property tax that is based on the estimated value of the vehicle.
The way the Ministerio de Hacienda computed the values this year is the subject of a Sala IV constitutional court appeal, but a decision is unlikely soon. Some motorists have faced enormous increases in their vehicle value.
If late-paying expats find out there are unjustified amounts for traffic tickets included in the marchamo fee, they will jut have to wait until next week to resolve the issue.
The Instituto Nacionall de Seguros has a detailed description and answers to common questions on its Web site in Spanish HERE.