Government quietly jacks up the exit tax by $2

The central government has slipped in another tax by decree. The tax ups the national exit tax at airports by $2 to $31.

The tax also is levied on those entering the country, according to the decree. Both taxes are mostly invisible to air travelers now that most airlines collect the money with the price of tickets.

The decree came from President Luis Guillermo Solís and seems also to cover those who  leave the country by land. Ostensibly the tax is to compensate the nation’s animal health service for fumigating, x-raying or otherwise inspecting the baggage of travelers to avoid the transmission of plant and animal diseases. The measure also said that the fee will cover cost of incinerating of anything confiscated.

The increase in the existing tax was well hidden in a general list of increased fees for the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal. The agency already collects money from a traveler’s tax. Those with trucks and even owners of aircraft are hit with fees that go to the animal

health service, whose workers are supposed to fumigate such transport vehicles.

There was no public announcement of the new tax although both Case Presidencial and the
Ministerio de Agricultura y Gandería, the animal health agency’s parent institution, maintains a staff of public relations writers. The initial reporting of the tax came from a reporter at La Nación.

There is some question if the tax is legal because some parts of the published decree are hidden by black coloring. That includes the amount of the new tax.

The decree says specifically that the tax applies to persons who enter or leave the country and the $2 fee is contained in section C-19 of Article 3 of the lengthy decree.

This is another one of those dedicated taxes that do not show up in the national budget and cannot be used to reduce the national deficit.

The La Gaceta official newspaper published the decree May 25, and the new tax is supposed to go into effect in 15 days.

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