Transit police confiscate hundreds of license plates for failure to pay marchamo

January 2, 2017
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The new year has taken a sour start for drivers in Costa Rica who failed to pay the annual vehicle tax, the marchamo.

Traffic Police spokeswoman Wendy Jiménez told The Tico Times that, as of Monday afternoon, 130 drivers all over the country who have failed to pay the yearly circulation permit have had their license plates confiscated and been handed fines. Each fine for not having the marchamo sticker posted on your car’s windshield costs ₡51,000 (just under $100).

“The first punishment is a seizure of the license and the fine, but if you get caught again without having paid the marchamo then it results in confiscation of your vehicle,” she said.

Jiménez said drivers who get caught without an updated marchamo will have to pay the fine, as well as the price of the marchamo, and a storage fine for the plate or vehicle.

Fines started rolling out Sunday after the passage of the Dec. 31, 2016 deadline in which all vehicle taxes and outstanding parking tickets had to be paid in full. Drivers who have forgotten about their marchamo payments should pay as soon as possible, as the tax accumulates interest daily interest once the deadline passes.

According to statistics taken Monday from the National Insurance Institute’s (INS) online database, one of every six drivers with vehicles registered in Costa Rica has still failed to pay the latest vehicle tax.

Many drivers have been ticketed on their way back from holiday travels as traffic police set up numerous roadside checks across the major highways coming into San José on New Year’s Day.

Read more about how the marchamo is calculated and how to pay here.

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