San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rican lawmakers approve two of three fiscal reform bills on first vote

Lawmakers on Monday night approved in a first round of debates two bills to help ease Costa Rica’s fiscal woes. The two bills, which aim to increase fiscal transparency and strengthen tax management, are part of a reform package of three bills that are an alternative to President Laura Chinchilla’s failed fiscal plan.

If passed in a second round of voting and signed into law by the president, the Fiscal Transparency Bill would allow authorities to lift banking secrecy for individual account holders and businesses if authorities suspect tax evasion or money laundering.

The Strengthening Tax Management Bill seeks an amendment to the Tax Code to streamline customs procedures and improve collection processes from private companies.

A third piece of legislation, known as the Euro Bonds Bill, would allow the executive branch to accrue up to $4 billion in bond debt to curb rising interest rates, mostly for personal loans.

Lawmakers could vote on that bill Tuesday afternoon, as it is first on the legislative agenda for today’s session.

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