The National Insurance Institute (INS) begins collecting payments today for mandatory vehicle circulation permits, known as marchamos, from an estimated 1.2 million auto owners across the country.
INS Executive President Sergio Alfaro said Friday that most motorists will pay a lower amount this year because two of the variables used to calculate the tax have seen downward trends.
The marchamo varies according to the year, make and use of a vehicle. It includes mandatory insurance, property tax, sales tax and other taxes, as well as unpaid traffic fines.
The Mandatory Automobile Insurance (SOA), which represents about 20 percent of the total amount, dropped this year by an average of 7 percent, INS reported.
The decrease was driven by higher sales of the SOA as a result of a spike in the number of vehicles in the country, especially motorcycles, according to the Insurance Superintendency.
The property tax also dropped by about 5 percent this year, according to estimates from the Finance Ministry.
Alfaro acknowledged, however, that in some cases the marchamo cost could increase, due to other tax increases, among them a Roadway Safety Council tax that increased from ₡10,000 to ₡10,317 ($18.40-$19) for cars, and from ₡5,000 to ₡5,158 ($9.20-9.50) for motorcycles.
To find out the exact amount owed, visit the INS website at: marchamo.ins-cr.com. Or send an SMS text with the word MARCHAMO followed by a license plate number to: 1467.
In order to make payments, vehicle owners must present a valid ID and the up-to-date mandatory vehicle inspection (RITEVE).
The deadline for payments is Dec. 31. On Jan. 1 and after, drivers without a marchamo sticker displayed on their vehicles will be fined ₡47,000 ($86) and have their license plates removed.
Paying after the deadline also entails a daily fine of a certain percentage of every tax that is part of the marchamo, plus a monthly fine of 3 percent of the value of those insurance charges.
Payments can be made at all INS branches in all provinces, as well as at banks, supermarkets and other businesses. More than 1,400 payment locations will be disclosed this week.