Caja collectors bring in $16.2 million from unreported employees

The nation’s health and pension system said it has recovered 8.8 billion colons from employers who did not report or who under reported the incomes of workers.

That is about $16.2 million. The recovery involved 30,133 employees, said the agency, the  Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

The payments came after inspectors caught the errors. The employers had to pay what they owed with interest, said the Caja.

The Caja has a collection department, and there is about $11 million still uncollected as of July, said the agency. That amount represents about 11 percent of what was reported and owed.

The Caja has a long way to go. It reported last week that 15 percent of employers and 46 percent of independent workers were behind in their payments. That means 13,215 employees and 98,129 independent workers.

That does not include the many persons who work off the books. An estimated  41.8 percent of the nation’s workforce is in the informal economy, which means they do not pay Caja charges and probably do not pay income taxes either.

These are not necessarily low-salaried migrant workers. Many sportsbook employees fall into this category as well as a number of business executives. Gambling house workers sometimes receive payment through foreign debit cards that they use at local automatic tellers. Some top executives are paid in their home country as a way of ducking Caja charges and Costa Rican income tax.

In the meantime, the Caja is in financial difficulty, and there are continual problems with supplies, medicines and wait lists.

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