Tax Problems Force Closure of 30 Businesses

December 18, 2009

The Costa Rican Finance Ministry closed 30 businesses last week and plans to shutter more for failure to comply with financial obligations to the state.

Of those 30 businesses, 12 are in San José, nine in Guanacaste, five in Alajuela, two in Limón and two in Heredia. The businesses include hotels, restaurants, night clubs, auto repair shops, electrical appliance stores, hardware stores, accessory stores and a real estate and architecture firm.

According to the ministry, the businesses failed to turn in receipts for sales, failed to present a tax return within an established time frame or neglected to pay taxes.

An estimated 50 more business closures are expected before the end of the year, the ministry said. The deadline to pay income taxes in Costa Rica was Tuesday, Dec. 15.

To date, 214 businesses have been closed in Costa Rica this year for failure to comply with financial obligations.

Loretta Rodríguez, vice minister of income for the Finance Ministry, indicated that ministry has increased efforts to collect taxes from businesses during a year of economic hardship.

“The economic crisis has caused a significant decrease in the payment of taxes,” Rodríguez said. “The Finance Ministry has strengthened information services and attention to taxpayers to facilitate voluntary fulfillment of tax obligations. The closing of businesses is a tool that demonstrates how we can be effective in decreasing companies’ failure to pay. We will keep using it through the end of the year so that taxpayers improve their behavior and correct their offenses.”

The Finance Ministry said delinquent businesses are given five days to pay outstanding taxes. If taxes are still unpaid at that point, a member of the National Police and two tax collectors go to the company site to shut down operations.

–Adam Williams

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