San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
National parks

Tourism entrepreneurs urge President Solís to block retroactive sales tax

Leaders of the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) sent President Luis Guillermo Solís a letter asking him to block a Finance Ministry decree ordering tourism businesses to collect sales tax on several tourism activities that were previously exempt.

They also want the president to reverse a clause in the decree stating those businesses must retroactively pay taxes from several years ago.

The request also was sent to Finance Minister Helio Fallas, as some business owners have been receiving official notifications from the Tax Administration stating that Sept. 30 is the deadline to pay back taxes for the last four years.

CANATUR President Pablo Abarca said the Finance Ministry’s measure could severely harm the tourism sector and lead to business closures, layoffs, loss of competitiveness and a decrease in investment.

The chamber’s president cited as an example that the collection of back taxes for a group of 10 businesses in the northern region totals ₡1 billion ($1.8 million).

Abarca said the group hoped to receive an official response from the Solís administration by Sept. 2.

“We are asking the President for his support in stopping the collection of back taxes, a measure we believe is disproportionate, unfair, confiscatory and immeasurably aggressive,” states a letter signed by employers of tourism businesses, regional tourism chamber leaders, and some lawmakers.

Solís earlier this month signed a decree eliminating the tax on national park entrance fees, but it still applies for all recreational activities that take place within the parks, such as rafting, diving, surfing, ziplining, hiking and others.

Contact L. Arias at

Log in to comment


It’s one thing to argue in favor of a new sales tax on tourism. But why would the Finance Ministry try to apply it retroactively?

Randomly imposing unexpected rules is one of the worst things you could do to business. Again, if you want to add a new tax, go ahead (though I wouldn’t suggest it), but make sure to keep all businesses informed on the subject, and give them plenty of time to adjust to the changes in fair manner. Or better yet, involve all businesses in the decision making, giving both big and small business equal say. And make all the deliberations transparent (there’s a thing called the internet now; why don’t you make better use of it).

1 0

I see the New goverment in Costa Rica has showed they want to kill all small business in Costa Rica. This should show all business in Costa Rica that massive goverment controls are soon to come. Tourism in Costa Rica is over. The new goverment in Costa Rica is a mess. It took new goverment only three months to show they have no clue. New Prez agenda wants unemployment to be 30%. When all goverment is corupt its time for a diffrent politcal solution. Remenber Fulgencio Batista of Cuba took everything from the people and finally the people rose up and said enough this could happen in Costa Rica if the goverment doesn´t start to figure out right and wrong. I see many Costa Rican pissed off at gas price,food prices, lazy goverment workers and to much taxes. Most Costa Ricans are fed up with the system of goverment that screws everyone but not the rich and never the lazy goverment workers or it elected lazy corupt officials. Its time for revolution.

0 0