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Costa Rica has introduced a new annual tax on all corporate structures, pegged to average public sector salaries.
For 'active companies' registered in Costa Rica, i.e. those undertaking commercial activities, the tax is equal to half the average monthly base salary of a public sector employee. For 'inactive companies', those used to house personal assets but which do not undertake commercial activities, the tax is half this amount, or 25% of the base salary. For 2012, the base salary has been confirmed as CRC360,600 (USD714), meaning the tax for each active company is CRC180,300, and CRC90,150 for each inactive corporate structure.
The law provides for exemptions for not-for-profit corporations, and for small- and micro-businesses, providing they are registered as such with the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce.
With the tax payable by April 30, 2012, the government has introduced transitional measures to allow tax breaks for those seeking to restructure their tax affairs. Taxpayers wishing to dissolve corporate structures by July 2012 may receive exemption from the payment of the tax, and transfers from one corporate to another, or to an individual, will be exempt from transfer taxes otherwise due on this transaction, until October 2012, providing the company has been inactive for at least 24 months prior to the enactment of the law.
The tax has been introduced to fund enforcement projects to tackle organised crime, with proceeds going to the nation's security ministry, “Ministerio de Seguridad Publica”.
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