An annual tax is required for all corporate entities registered in Costa Rica. This recent law, which passed in April 2012, applies to both active and inactive corporations. At the current exchange rates, the tax for active corporations is roughly $357, while inactive corporations must pay $178. The taxes are due on January 1st of each year.
Types of Corporations
1. Sociedad Anonima (S.A.)
2. Sociedad Limitada (Limited Liability Partnership)
3. Branches of international companies or its representatives
Active vs. Inactive
A corporation is considered active if it regularly engages in business transactions and is registered with the tax company. Inactive corporations are much more common. These usually hold title to property or vehicles and do not have any commercial activities.
Any branch of Banco de Costa Rica can tell you if your corporation is active or inactive. Simply present your corporate identification number – the cedula juridica – and bank officials will stipulate the tax amount owed.
The corporation tax is payable in the same way that income and luxury taxes are processed in Costa Rica. This may be done by SINPE transfer, or downloading the appropriate form for payment at any state-run bank.
1. Pay the tax on your corporation.
2. Transfer the assets into your personal name and dissolve the corporation. Dissolution of a corporation may incur legal and publication fees of up to $250.
3. Resign as corporate officer or director within one year and record the resignation in the corporate registry.
Nonpayment of Tax
1. If the corporate tax goes unpaid for three consecutive years and the company has no assets, the law can dissolve the corporation immediately.
2. If the corporation has assets at the time, the government can mortgage these toward the tax debt.
3. Representatives of foreign-registered companies, and legal representatives of corporations and limited liability companies will be held equally responsible for the nonpayment of taxes.
4. The National Register will not issue certification on the corporation in the event of nonpayment.
5. An interest rate of 13.3% and a fine up to 20% of the outstanding tax amount will be applied to all arrears.