Heredia utility to build factura system

Government officials have picked the Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia to develop and run the proposed electronic factura system.

The system is a centralized place where the government can keep an eye on income for various occupations.

Facturas are what Costa Ricans call receipts. Now businesses and professionals issue these receipts themselves. But the Ministerio de Hacienda says that many professionals and companies are taking the bulk of their money under the table and not reporting it as income.

With the new system, the ministry’s tax inspectors will have a day-to-day look at the income of many professionals and companies.

The project will cost $8.5 million, said the ministry.  The Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia is that canton’s public utility provider.

The firm will work with other firms specialized in this field to develop software, networks, servers and other technological platforms, said the ministry.

The system is supposed to go into service next January, and various sectors of the economy will be hooked up over time, said the ministry.

Basically a professional such as a physician or lawyer will have a device in the office where client data is inserted. The device will be hooked up to a central server that will process the client’s payment and emit a receipt electronically at the professional’s office.

The Ministerio de Hacienda promised that the system will not cost users. It said that some 300 tax paying entities already are hooked up to a pilot system.

The central system raises privacy issues that have not been addressed or discussed. Tax inspectors will be able to see individual medical visits and consultations with lawyers along with statements giving the reason.

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