San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Restaurant owners say 2 percent bank charge on credit, debit transactions could cause problems

Representatives of the Costa Rican Restaurants Chamber (CACORE) warned this week that restaurant owners could face liquidity problems from a 2 percent charge that banks will assess on all dining payments made with credit and debit cards.

The measure was prompted in August by a Tax Administration decree and takes effect this month. According to the decree, banks will withhold 2 percent of credit and debit card payments from restaurants as an advance on income tax payments. CACORE criticized the plan during its annual congress of 225 representatives from the sector, who met this week.

Chamber executive director Alejandro Madrigal Ramírez on Tuesday said they had requested a meeting with Finance Vice Minister Fernando Rodríguez, and the two sides could begin discussions as early as next week.

Tax Administration General Director Carlos Vargas in August said the measure has two goals: To collect advanced income tax payments and to track all payments made with credit and debit cards in the country.

CACORE’s congress also held forums to discuss other challenges, including high levels of competition. According to Health Ministry records, more than 20,000 food and beverage businesses operate in Costa Rica.

Competition has led to some 1,900 layoffs in the sector this year, but congress attendees said they did not expect more firings for the rest of 2014.

Restaurant owners also complained about excessive red tape at public agencies – particularly at municipalities – and dry laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol during certain holidays.

Contact L. Arias at

Log in to comment


It is time we all start going back to using cash and cut banks completely out of as many transactions as possible….

0 0
Mark Kahle

I see a charge of 13% for tax every time I use my card at a restaurant. Why not have the bank keep it all ?? It certainly does not belong in any way to the restaurant/bar/business. If, in fact, taking it does have an effect on their business then they are doing business wrong and need to get out of it as soon as possible.

As to beer/ wine and spirits sales the tax is “included”. The only place that has records on just how much the bar sells are the wholesalers that place orders from their hand held devices. The device identifies the business, person making the order and the amount and type sold. Get a copy and charge tax based on that order. Most bars only pay tax on 50% or less of actual sales.

0 0