Tax agency eases the bite so poor can see television

The central government is under the impression that the poor have non-digital television sets.

Consequently, the Ministerio de Hacienda acted Tuesday to eliminate a 15-percent tax on television converters in advance of the country’s stations changing to an all-digital signal in December 2017.

The decree called the levy a selective consumption tax. The ministry noted that the converter boxes already are free of a 14 percent customs charge that would have been levied on their importation.

The decree also points out accidentally the hidden charges consumers face when they purchase regular electronic gear. There also is the current 13 percent sales tax. The telecommunications agency said that the reduction in price of the converters would help bridge the poverty gap for families in the state of vulnerability.

Costa Rica has agreed to adopt the Japanese-Brazilian television standard,  ISDB-Tb. The converter boxes will change the incoming digital signal to one that can be displayed by the older non-digital televisions.

There was no indication that the ministry actually did a survey to see the type of televisions that are in use in poor neighborhoods.

This is one of the converters.

This is one of the converters.

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