Ticos with visas to the United States used to have four years to renew the visa without going through the interview process again. However, the Trump administration has changed that. Now Ticos have only a year for a visa renewal without an interview. La Nación
News & Articles
News & articles
CAPITAL GAINS ON REAL ESTATE: As of July 1, 2019. For years, people have enjoyed a capital gains free country. Many who bought property over the years, did so without too much question because they hoped to make a big profit someday on appreciation in value with no local capital gains tax to pay.
Those days are over. Law 9635, called the “Fortalecimiento de las Finanzas Públicas” or just the “Plan Fiscal,” the fiscal plan in English, became law Dec. 4. Many parts of the legislation were on hold until today, July 1. One of those parts was the imposition of a capital gains tax on the sale of assets.
Last Thursday the tax department published its final revision to the regulations of the law. Here is an outline of the essential facts concerning capital gains:
The new capital gains tax is 15 percent of the profit of a transaction. For assets acquired before today, people have the option to pay 2.25 percent if that rate has a better tax consequence. All assets obtained after today are subject to the 15 percent tax. Legitimate homeowners can exempt the home they live in permanently. However, there has not been an official determination of the meaning of “principal residence” by the govt.
DRIVER’S LICENSE DOCTOR VISIT: The Medical Association of Costa Rica opened the option of making online payments for medical appointments for licensing exams and license renewal.
The institution says that, as of this year, all payments for medical examinations should be made only online, on the official website: www.medicos.cr Also, from February 1, doctors’ offices will no longer accept payments.
The institution also confirms that medical consultations will now cost ¢21,800 colones ($36).
To make the payment, enter your personal data on the form on the school’s website and then enter the data for your debit or credit card to continue.
Once the payment is made, you will receive a code by email which must be provided to the doctor when you arrive for your appointment. The doctor then enters the code and ID number into the files.
Someone without access to the website can make the payment to the school’s account at a bank. Include full details and ID number and the appointment will be validated within 48 hours.
LEGAL HOLIDAYS IN 2019:
- January 1 – New Year’s Day
- April 11 – Juan Santamaria Day
- Thursday and Friday of Easter Week (Semana Santa)
- May 1 – Labor Day
- July 25 – Anexation of Guanacaste
- August 15 – the ‘Mother” of all holidays
- September 15 – Independence Day
- December 25 – Christmas
The Clinica Biblica Hospital inaugurated this November 5 its new facilities in the area of Santa Ana, San José, Costa Rica. The new building involves 7,000 square meters of the hospital building and 8,000 square meters of the parking lot tower, this is the second location the private medical center opens, but it has plans to open two other facilities, one in Heredia and another in Tres Rios within the next three to seven years. The facilities in Santa Ana include 27 new doctors’ offices, two outpatient surgery rooms, pharmacy, laboratory, eight specialized clinics, restaurants, helipad, and emergency service. This is the third private hospital in the west side of San Jose, Cima Hospital has been operating since 1994 and Lindora Medical Center opened its doors back in 2016 and was recently acquired by the Metropolitan Hospital.
New headaches for vacation property owners. Nov. 1 was the deadline for everyone doing business in Costa Rica to give and accept electronic invoices. Much to the chagrin of Ticos and expats alike, this includes the renting of rooms, homes, villas, and any other type of temporary lodging for vacationers.
It does not matter if Airbnb, Vacation Rental by Owner, Booking.com, HomeAway or another firm provided the service to the customer. Costa Rica still wants the sale input into its system.
Electronic invoicing is all about better control over taking in sales taxes and improving income tax collection. Many people renting to tourists or those here in transit believe in tax avoidance and even outright evasion.
One person who rents to others said, “I use Airbnb, which is transparent to the tax people. I have no intention of using the new system.” This person does not know about the La Dirección de Inteligencia Tributaria. That is the intelligence division of the tax department. Anyone renting to others will recognize immediately what a pain this new requirement is going to be. Imagine getting a renter from Airbnb, collecting the money in a PayPal account in the United States and then have to navigate the local tax department’s electronic invoicing system to send the customer another invoice from Costa Rica.
DENTISTS & LAWYERS: The College of Surgeons Dentists of Costa Rica wants to alert the public that people who are not dentists have been found providing such care as: cleaning, orthodontic placement, dental and prosthesis provision, among other services. The dental organization has implemented a search system where people can include the name of the dentist they wish to consult and get an immediate result on the licensing status of the individual. http://www.colegiodentistas.org/sitCol/ To check the status of a lawyer; https://www.abogados.or.cr/
POLICE: The men and women of the Fuerza Publica – the national police – the largest of all police forces in the country, are generally charged with the apprehension of criminals and the prevention and detection of crime, protection and assistance of the general public, and the maintenance of public order. PCD are the drug police and GOA are organized crime police. Other police and investigative forces are operated by the Judicial Branch of the government – the OIJ, the Ministry of Transportation – Policia de Transito, and the Immigration service.
Other police forces in the country: Municipal police, DIS (Intelligence), Guardacost (Coastguard), Vigilancia Area (Air Surveillance) and PCD (Drug enforcement), among others. The starting salary of a new recruit to the Fuerza Publica: ¢451,165 colones monthly….$803.00
Recruits have to be Costa Rican nationals, over the age of 18, completed grade 9 and must complete an entrance exam. For more information: http://qcostarica.com/how-much-do-police-earn-in-costa-rica/
PROPERTY TAXES: San José, Aug. 21 (Elpais.cr) .- An agreement signed between the Ministry of Finance and the National Registry will allow the automatic updating of the values of the real estate in the General Tax Office, to contribute to the modernization of the fiscal management and with an improvement in tax collection. The use of this technological platform, from last August 10, allows that Taxation can update information based on the testimonies that appear in the public deeds, in which movements such as transfers, mortgages and land segregations are recorded, among others. http://www.elpais.cr/2018/08/21/acuerdo-automatizara-valores-de-bienes-inmuebles-para-mejorar-recaudacion-de-sus-impuestos/
15 years in prison for pedestrian assaults in Puriscal. Tuesday, June 26, 2018 The Criminal Court of Desamparados sentenced Jesús Torres Chacón, 38 years of age, to 15 years in prison, as responsible for committing 5 assaults on pedestrians in the canton of Puriscal. The facts were presented in 2012 and 2013, according to the prosecution the assaults were presented in Santiago and Jilgueral de Puriscal where Torres in the company of another person travelled by motorcycle and attacked pedestrians, who were threatened by Firearms and stripped of money and cell phones. After stealing cell phones, they were activated with other people’s SIM cards. The victims of these robberies gave the prosecutor and the OIJ keys and details that allowed the capture of Torres who has six months of preventive detention while the sentence is finalized.
CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS IN CR: The said amendment was complemented by law number 7472, known as Consumer Protection Act, which brought specific rules in order to protect the rights and interests of the consumers. Now all merchants are required to adjust their practices in order to match the current rules or they can face severe fines and penalties. It is well known that many companies such as building contractors, car rental agencies, appliance/ electronics stores, time shared hotels and real estate developers, among others, have abusive clauses in their rental agreements and purchase contracts. Some building contractors never finish projects on time or on or under budget. Some car rental companies fail on informing their customers what to do in case of an accident, and after just replacing the car they wait until the client has left the country to later try to charge the full repair cost on the provided credit card. Nowadays affected consumers have the right to sue these dealers by means of the Consumer Protection Act which offers the possibility to choose between two different ways to confront the same issue:
1. File a complaint in front of the National Consumer Commission, a branch of the Ministry of Economy. Their website https://www.consumo.go.cr/ . In this case and administrative procedure will start granting both parties the right to present all kind of valid evidence and witness testimonies when a verbal hearing takes place in San Jose.
2. Start a lawsuit in front of a Civil Court by means of a summary process, where a larger number of pretensions can be filed, including but not limited to reimbursement or purchase price, damages, legal costs and interest. Another advantage with this option is that it offers a wider term before the possibility to do so lapses. Given that this civil lawsuit can be presented at the nearest Civil Court, it might be a good option for Expats living outside the central valley, since the National Consumer Commission offices are located in San Jose.
It is important for all consumer to obtain as much information as possible concerning any product or service that they might be interested in, to pay attention to the small print on any contract before signing it and to always demand a warranty and a proof of payment from any seller; but if something goes wrong the law might be on their side. Allan Garro, attorney & Notary, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Residential Landords Must Provide Electronic Invoices Starting September 1st.
Property owners renting a room, an apartment or a house, even if it is for a low amount, should start to issue a “factura electrónica” (electronic invoice) to their tenants starting September 1 of this year. The application of the factura electrónica to residential rents was confirmed by Taxation. In addition, Dunia Zamora, legal advisor to the Association of Public Accountants; Alan Saborío, Tax partner of Deloitte and German Morales, Tax partner of Grant Thornton Costa Rica, confirmed that this resolution covers residential rents. In addition, they must file an income tax return even if what they earn does not reach the minimum amount to start paying income tax. According to the current table for fiscal year 2018 (from September 1, 2017, to October 30, 2018), net income (income minus expenses) of up to ¢3,549,000 are exempt, on the excess of ¢3,549,000 and up to ¢5,299,000 the tax payable is 10%. For higher amounts, there is an escalating tax rate.Thus, for example, if a person rents an apartment at ¢150,000 monthly, that is a gross income of ¢1,800,000, subtracting expenses such as painting and maintenance of ¢200,000 the remainder is aa net income of ¢1,600,000. As that amount is less than ¢3,549000 there is not tax payable. However, a factura electronica must be issued and a tax return filed. The factura electrónica or electronic invoice is an electronic receipt generated when the sale of goods or services is made. That voucher/invoice reaches the consumer also by electronic means. This article is not intended to be legal or accounting advice. Please consult with a professional on your particular case with respect to filing and paying income tax and the issuing of a factura electronica.
ECONOMIC NEWS: Inflation for 2017 was 2.57%. The local currency will depreciate on average 3.6% against the US dollar in 2018.
OIJ HAS DRUG RAID IN 2 HOUSES IN SAN ANTONIO. The Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) carried out different operations in Puriscal to dismantle an organization that is dedicated to the sale of drugs. In total, the judicial police arrested 5 individuals who would had a bunker in San Antonio de Puriscal. The raids were carried out in 2 homes in the sector. The judicial police started with the case since mid-2017. The suspects are being investigated since they would make up a band of distribution and sale of drugs in the area.
The FDA is trying to smother the handmade cigar industry like the one in Santiago de Puriscal. The Food and Drug Administration is making it harder and harder for family-owned, handmade cigar companies to produce and sell their products. The new rules are unnecessary and highly political, and they will drive companies out of business, leaving you with fewer choices in your humidor, changing the cigar industry forever. It needs to stop.
Write the new FDA commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, and President Donald Trump. Let them know how you feel. Tell them handmade cigars deserve an exemption from FDA control. It’s time to deregulate the handmade cigar industry and let this small, artisanal and venerable business continue without government interference.
“I am protesting the FDA’s over-regulation of the handmade cigar industry. Keep this family owned and artisanal industry intact and leave handmade cigars alone.”
FDA Commisioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb
Email address: commissionerFDA@fda.hhs.gov
Contact information: whitehouse.gov/contact/
Vice President Michael Pence
Contact information: whitehouse.gov/contact/
Health and Human Services Secretary Thomas Price
Email address: secretary@HHS.gov
CIGAR FACTORY: The Tabacos de Costa Rica cigar factory in town is very busy. They now have a large walk-in freezer, a computerized laser engraving machine for logos on wooden boxes and a very nice facility for making wooden boxes from cedar. Tours are free and their hours are M – F, 7:30am to 4:30pm.
TUNA BRAND “SULI” IS DOLPHIN-DEADLY: Costa Rica News – Investigations by the nonprofit International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP) have revealed that, in its Costa Rican locations, Walmart has been selling its own brand of canned tuna that has been caught using fishing methods that harass and kill dolphins. These practices make Walmart’s tuna brand — called Suli — dolphin-deadly, though Suli tuna cans carry a misleading seal claiming that the tuna is dolphin safe. The International Marine Mammal Project is alerting Costa Rican consumers that Suli-brand tuna is being sold not only in Walmart, but also in other Walmart-owned stores throughout the country, including Sam´s Club, Pali, Max X Menos, and Maxipali. http://www.costaricantimes.com/walmart-exposed-for-selling-dolphin-deadly-tuna-in-costa-rica/53261
3 motorcycles in accident in front of Maxi Pali March 25th. A motorcyclist was severely injured and transferred to Hospital San Juan de Dios and two others with possible fractures were sent to the Puriscal Comprehensive Care Center (CAIS), after a crash between three motorcycles registered on Saturday morning in the center of that canton. The triple collision occurred at 6:45 a.m. M., In the eastern corner of the Banco Popular, 100 meters east of the Santiago park, just before Maxi Pali. The motorcyclist with cranioencephalic trauma was identified as Dixon Salazar Salazar, 48, a resident of that canton of Josefino. Another of the motorcyclists presented a possible fracture in one of his legs and one of the two of the third motorcycle (driver and companion) also was transferred with several blows to the CAIS. Salazar is a mechanic and was on the side. When he started the bike to go to work, his Honda motorcycle was hit by another, branded Genesis, which was going very fast in the same direction, which was driven by Héiner Torres Castillo, who did not carry a license. The third bike involved was a Honda that came in the opposite direction, which hit those who were on the ground and fell to about ten feet. This last motorcycle was led by Eladio Sánchez Murillo, 23, a neighbor of Santiago and Anthony Hernández Fuentes as companion. Of the two occupants of this third motorcycle, only the driver merited transfer to the CAIS with blows in several parts of the body. www.nacion.com
BE CAREFUL IN THE SURF:
The former rugby player was also a restaurant owner in the Winnipeg area. Scouras’ restaurant, the Red Top Diner, was featured on the Food Network show “You Gotta Eat Here!” in 2012. The drowning occurred directly in front of Hotel Marea Brava on Playa Hermosa, just south of Jacó, the Red Cross spokeswoman said. The beach is known for its large waves and strong tide that make for internationally recognized surf. Drownings have often been the center of fierce debate on Costa Rica’s beaches, where lifeguards are few and far between. Because there are no laws requiring shores to be supervised and basically no funding from the government, drowning fatalities are disproportionately high in Costa Rica. From 2000 to 2014, the country suffered at least 50 drownings per year.
License law change penalizes expats who overstay:
|A new traffic law calls for the removal of license plates on cars owned by foreigners who get caught driving past the three-month limit allowed tourists, according to the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes.
This is a sequel to a 2012 law that says expats cannot obtain a Costa Rican driver’s license until the immigration agency gives them official cédulas. The law also prevents so-called perpetual tourists from obtaining a local license. These perpetual tourists leave the country every 90 days to renew their tourism visa in order to keep their current license valid.
USA VISA LAW CHANGED FOR TICOS:
FATAL ACCIDENT: Dec. 7th there was a fatal accident on the steep road connecting Bajo Burgos with Dasamparaditos. The 62 yr. old Tico with the last name Ramirez lost control of his pickup and killed 2 women walking on the road, Carolina María Mesén Soto, de 25 años, y María Isabel Rodríguez Molina, de 46 años y madre de tres hijos. Speeding and probably alcohol were involved.
CHRISTMAS TREES: Cypress, in Puriscal, call 8434-3670
FISCAL TAX YEAR ENDS SEPT. 30TH; Saturday marked the beginning of the fiscal year and the start of Costa Rican tax season.
The final income tax filings deadline for the year 2015-2016 is Dec. 15. But those in business and those who plan to have taxable income have to file a report listing their expenses and income from any source above 50,000 colons for professionals like lawyers and physicians and other independent contractors and an aggregate 2.5 million colons for purchases of supplies and sales.
Plenty of Costa Ricans do not have to pay income tax. The Ministerio de Hacienda published a statement Thursday specifying the threshold for taxes at 787,000 colons or about $1,415 a month. Those who earn more than that up to 1,181,000 colons or about $2,214 a month have to pay 10 percent. Higher than that, and the tax bite is 15 percent.
BCR bank card: In January 2016 the state bank, the Banco de Costa Rica (BCR), was the first of the Costa Rica banks to allow foreigners in the country to open an account with only their passport. For frequent visitors if your country bank is a Visa affiliate there is the “Visa Direct” option for international transfers, for a fee, you can transfer from your country bank to your Costa Rica bank account, that immediately loads your debit card. On your arrival to Costa Rica, you have instant local cash.
For foreigners living, but not resident in Costa Rica, a local bank account allows online payment of utilities and reduces the amount of cash carried. Why carry wads of cash or risk having the local ATM eat up your foreign bank card? For more information, http://qcostarica.com/costa-rica-banking-for-foreigners-and-visitors-made-easy/
Country’s famous bird expert. Finca Los Cusingos, the home of the famed naturalist Alexander Skutch for more than 60 years, attracts wildlife lovers and those wanting to see a sample of the simpler life of past times in Costa Rica. Skutch died in 2004, just eight days short of his 100th birthday. He is buried near the main house along with his wife, Pamela Lankester of the family who founded what is now the Lankester botanical gardens belonging to the University of Costa Rica. His doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in 1928 was in botany but while working for a banana company as a researcher he developed an interest in birds. At that time tropical ornithology had not progressed much beyond collection of museum specimens, and Skutch’s contributions made by field observation of life histories were unprecedented. He ultimately published more than 30 books and dozens of scientific papers.
Skutch’s background in botany makes the accounts of feeding habits of fruit-eating birds sometimes excruciatingly detailed.
The reserve is near Rivas de Pérez Zeledón, which is close to San Isidro de El General about three to four hours from San José via the old highway to Panamá. The reserve is managed by the Centro Cientifico Tropical, the same organization that runs the Monteverde cloud forest reserve. Entrance fees are $10 with the usual discounts for residents and children.
There is about a kilometer of graveled trail though forest on the property along with the accessible gardens. The house itself was restored after Skutch’s death but still sports the original structure and roof.
Skutch turned out his many books and articles on this.
This picture of Alexander Skutch his wife, Pamela Lankester, is displayed prominently in the couple’s home.
On request, caretakers will open the house to show the antique contents like a wood cookstove and hundreds of books about birds and philosophy. Pre-Columbian ceramic pieces found by Skutch himself suggest archaeological significance, but this has not been explored. The manual typewriter that produced so much is there in the office.
Skutch verged on poetry in some of his observations, like this segment from the 1973 book “Life of the Hummingbird:”
“To me, a hummingbird was, and is, a fairy like bird, with a
tiny body of slender grace, that hovers, miraculously suspended between two broad sectors of misty light, like the separated halves of a halo, giving forth now and then a bright glint of green from its back, and sending out a low, murmurous humming from those wings vibrated into an unsubstantial haze, while it probes the cool depth of some bright corolla with a long and delicately slender bill.”
APPLE APPS FOR CR…… Available in English.
ID TREES: https://itunes.apple.com/lc/app/ojeadores/id1030536491?mt=8
Canadian University Inaugurates Rainforest Campus in Costa Rica. TORONTO, April 25, 2016 – The Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University opened its new Lillian Meighen Wright Centre and EcoCampus today in southern Costa Rica, offering students hands-on experiential learning from deep within a rainforest.
The 400-square-metre Lillian Meighen Wright Centre overlooks the Peñas Blancas River from its prime location on York U’s new EcoCampus. The new centre is thanks to a generous donation of $750,000 from the Lillian Meighen and Don Wright Foundation. The EcoCampus is a long-awaited venture. One that started with a donation to York U of 400 acres of Costa Rican rainforest by noted Toronto physician Dr. Woody Fisher in 1998. Along the way, multiple donors contributed more than $8 million to the Las Nubes Project, supporting student and faculty research, academic positions, student awards, program costs and most recently the creation of the 25-acre EcoCampus, which sits next to the Las Nubes Forest Reserve. The reserve is part of one of the largest rainforest ecosystems in Central America.
Driving: A road safety specialist claims that Ticos tend to be abusive drivers who ignore the consequences of their actions on the road like passing on blind curves. Over the past three years, 610 drivers have lost their licenses for reckless behavior. www.crhoy.com
BIRDS; Costa Rica has over 900 different species of birds. Many of them can be found in the southern Pacific coast community of Uvita on the Osa Peninsula. Ecotourism specialists are now putting together programs that would offer bird watching tours to the thousands of visitors who come to the area each year to enjoy the diversity of plants and animals.
An adult, 66, was arrested Tuesday afternoon in downtown Puriscal on suspicion of corruption of minors. The case has been under investigation since August 13th by agents of the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ), following a complaint by a child under 16 years. The boy said in the complaint that the suspect had invited him to the house to watch some movies. Apparently the man, named Montero, enticed the children with cell phones and electronic tablets in exchange for sex and touching of intimate parts. On Tuesday Dec. 15th, at about 1:30 p. m., investigators raided the home of Montero, where he was detained and they seized pornographic material and other important evidence for the investigation.
2016 CORPORATION TAXES:
You don’t have to pay your corporation tax for 2016. I spoke with an accountant and a lawyer and they both agreed…”don’t pay them.” Vehicles, properties, homes, etc. However the Govt. may pass an emergency law…time will tell.
The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, on Wednesday evening (Jan. 26, 2015) ruled three articles of the country’sCorporate Tax Law unconstitutional, and as a result, collection will be suspended starting next year.
Sala IV’s ruling also states that in order to avoid problems or misinterpretations, taxes for the fiscal year 2015 must be paid.Tax collection will be suspended from Jan. 2016.
DAM after a minor traffic accident. The new form for drivers involved in minor traffic accidents is called the Declaración de Accidente Menor, which expats can call DAM. This is a form that is supposed to be used starting Jan. 7 by drivers who are involved in minor mishaps where there are no personal injuries.
Another requirement for use of the form is that the vehicles involved in the collision are able to move under their own power and that a tow truck is not needed, said the ministry. The drivers involved have to agree to the procedure, too. The drivers involved fill out duplicate copies of the DAM report giving details on the accident and the identification of the vehicles and individuals involved. That eliminates the need for calling a traffic officer and allows the drivers to move their vehicles out of the traffic flow, said the ministry. The forms will be used later when the drivers involved in the collision appear at the local traffic court to report what happened. At the court, officials try conciliation to assess damages. At some point the drivers’ insurance carriers will need a copy. Here is the form; http://www.mopt.go.cr:10039/portal/Documentos/DAM.pdf
IS BOTTLED WATER WORTH THE PRICE? In 2007, the Pepsi corporation admitted that its Aquafina bottled water is not purified water or spring water, but simply plain old tap water. The company will now be forced to change the labeling of the brand to reflect that it is just tap water. The corporate accountability group is now looking to Coca-Cola’s Dasani bottled water for false advertisement. However, Dasani denies that their product is just tap water. Aguafina’s bottles are now labeled “P.W.S.” The new labels will spell out “public water source.” The company that sells Agua Cristal in Costa Rica states that it comes from the highlands of the Central Volcanic Range of Costa Rica and gushing springs in Echeverria, in Alajuela, where it is packaged under high quality standards. Bottled water has always been controversial. The water in most of Costa Rica has very low count of TDS,total dissolved solids like copper,lead,zinc, mercury and sodium. So a simple carbon filter is good as a prefilter since carbon does collect chemicals.Nitrates,nitrites sulfur and others. There are hardware stores that carry a two stage
filter system to make potable water for drinking and cooking. It operates with low water pressure and can be connected to your sink faucet.
The first stage is the carbon filter that collects chemicals and sediment. The second stage is a U.V. light bulb that kills bacteria. The carbon filter should be changed every six months. The U.V. lamp lasts about a year,so if you buy one ,buy another lamp at the same time. This filter system runs about $250.
One caution.Do not look directly at the U.V. light.In time ,it can injure your eyes. Once you have it set up in a permanent location,cover the front of the unit so you don’t see the lamp..
FOR SALE, RENT
Two houses for rent… Bajo Campos and in Bajo Burgos. Both asking $600/month, one is furnished, the other unfurnished. 2 BR. 2.5 baths, office. If interested, contact…email@example.com
1. Fred Holmes, Author of “How to Live in Costa Rica on $1500 a Month”, e-book $3.99
2. House for rent in the center of town, one week $378.00, completely furnished,1 Bedroom, 1 Bath Condo, spectacular view within walking distance to town. Contact Glen Engman at 1-781-284-6145, email is firstname.lastname@example.org No pets, no smoking.
3. Utility trailer, perfect for hauling construction materials and gardening supplies. Spare tire, fenders, electrical hook-up. $700 Contact Rob Regan in Santa Marta at 2416-4589,