San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Business sector ask President Solís for stricter control of tax dodgers, black market sales

Members of Costa Rica’s Chamber of Commerce (CCCR) delivered President Luis Guillermo Solís a list of petitions asking him to increase actions to fight smuggling, tax evasion, black market sales and excessive bureaucracy in public agencies.

The request was made Thursday during a meeting at the Costa Rica Country Club, where entrepreneurs also asked Solís to increase measures against counterfeiting and fraudulent invoicing practices.

CCCR President Francisco Llobet told Solís that “the growth of black market practices is undermining the country’s job generation as well as tax revenues.”

Chamber data indicate that black market trade currently accounts for up to 22 percent of total sales of goods in the country. For example, they said tax dodging for sales of contraband cigarettes and liquor could reach some ₡35 billion annually ($66 million).

Last year, Fiscal Control Police confiscated more than 21 million cigarettes, 123,072 bottles of beer and 36,464 bottles of whiskey.

Entrepreneurs also called on the president to improve tax collection. According to the CCCR, 90 percent of the country’s tax collection currently comes from some 1,000 companies and self-employed professionals.

“We need an approach that goes beyond a vision that only contemplates punishment; we need to improve controls,” Llobet said.

President Solís pledged to address these issues in executive branch agencies and added that he will pay close attention to current legislation and legal procedures for registering goods, pharmaceutical and agrochemicals products, as well as excessive bureaucracy that promotes increased smuggling.

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Ken Morris

Interesting statement coming from a business group, since businesses are the main tax dodgers. It therefore makes sense that they would emphasize things like smuggling in which they are not complicit (and which hurt them).

However, it’s nice that someone at least mentioned the fact that 90% of the taxes are paid by only 1000 entities. To some extent, this may be almost normal, since of course the few very large and profitable businesses would pay most of the taxes. Even so, it gestures to the reality that tax cheating is common among businesses and professionals.

Personally, I’d like to see much better tax enforcement, as long as it is applied uniformly to everyone. With Ben and others, I’m pretty sure that taxes could actually be lowered if they were collected uniformly.

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Troy Rose

Costa Rica needs to open up free trade with USA and other countries. Not only will this open up more jobs for millions of people in Costa RIca but also get the prices of goods down to a more proper price and improve the economy. It will also make smuggling efforts simply vanish.. Anything imported into Costa Rica is taxed 100% so therefore Cars, Electronics, clothing and just about everything a person needs is twice the cost then it is in USA…..Is there nobody in Costa Rica that knows anything about economics? Or is this country only interested in Corruption? And how does Costa Rica expect any foreign industries and business to occupy Costa Rica when it costs too much to have product and supplies brought into the country? It is of no question why Intel left and I am sure many will be following behind them.. If the government does not do anything to improve the economy then Costa Rica will not be a country that anybody wants to live in or even vacation in…

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Smugglers don´t bring product because they want to they bring in product because thing are over priced in Costa Rica and over taxed. Compared to the rest of Latin America Taxes on Food products like Beer and Cigarettes are much lower than in Costa Rica. I guess people now in Costa Rica are tried of getting ripped of by Auto Mercado and AMPM and Fresh market. $6.00 for a big bag of potato chips is to much when in USA costs 0.99cents. Panama Beer costs 0.56cents and a can in Costa Rica is $1.50 a Can. Costa Rican people will buy from smugglers when they have no jobs and no money. Good luck Business sector in CR you have been taking advantage of People to long that is why they use Smugglers. First you need jobs then start working on the Smuggling.

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