Helpful Tips on Property Taxes in a Nutshell

April 15, 2012

ABC Real Estate Tamarindo

Casa Europa

Property Taxes

Ley 7509 Impuesto sobre bienes inmuebles

This tax applies to every titled property. Its collection is administered by the local municipality. It represents 0.25% per year of fiscal value recorded in the National Registry. Fiscal values are assigned following the procedures established in the legislation. They can be referenced to the highest sales prices reported, an appraisal performed by the Municipality’s engineer, the value of a mortgage (if applicable) over the property, or a declaration by the contributor.

The taxes are collected per quarter (by the end of March, June, September, and December), but the contributor may pay the whole year within the first quarter. If several periods are pending, interests will be charged and the case could be sent to a judicial process which would end in the payment of legal fees upon payment or the eventual foreclosure of the property due to this debt. When selling your property, the taxes have to be paid up-to-date; if not, it might delay the closing. Make sure you are up-to-date and keep the receipts. It is best to get a so-called “Constancia” Municipal, a statement that you don’t owe anything to the Municipality to supply to the buyer. A “Constancia” is free, just ask for it.

Where to ask: Tamarindo and the surrounding areas are administered by the Municipality of Santa Cruz. Its offices are located in the city of Santa Cruz, phone number (506) 2680-0101: ext. 202 Patentes & Taxes; ext. 203 Collections; ext. 204 Bienes Inmuebles (Real Estate).

Luxury Home Tax

Ley 8683 Impuesto solidario para el fortalecimiento de programas de vivienda

Law number 8683, in firm on December 10th, 2008, created a tax with the specific purpose of financing welfare housing programs with funds gathered from owners of luxurious homes. The law itself states that the tax will be valid starting January 2009 and for ten years (until January 2019).

A contributor to this tax is any entity that owns a house classified as luxurious by January 1st of the year. The tax must be paid by January 15th or the following working day of the natural year it applies.

To analyze if a property is subject or not, and to calculate the amount of the tax to be paid annually, an appraisal is to be performed following a manual (“Manual de Valores por Tipología Constructiva”) created and updated by a dependency of the Tax Authority (Órgano de Normalización Técnica). The initial threshold value of construction from which a property started to be considered as luxurious in 2009 was 100 million colones. This threshold is updated each December and right now it is at 111 million colones (around USD$220,000.00).

If the construction of a home exceeds the threshold, the value of the land is included according to survey maps created for each municipality. Homes within condominiums must include their participation over common areas as part of their assessed value.

The rate of the tax is established on a tier system. It goes from 0.25% to 0.55% depending on the appraised value.

The assessed value for properties standing in 2009, when the tax started to apply, is good for 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Hence, within the first 15 days of January 2013, properties should be reassessed applying the threshold, tiers, and calculation manual valid at that time, and a new value must be declared. According to these variables and the application of the depreciating factor, properties that were previously exempt from the tax may apply, and others may become exempt. For properties declared after 2009, the declaration is valid for three periods, after this, the property should be reassessed and the new value declared.

A house that is built within the years the tax is valid and applies as a luxury home must declare and file the tax the first January 1st it is finished.

Inscriptions, filings, and payments are performed through digital and physical forms available by the tax authority (Dirección General de Tributación (dgt.hacienda.go.cr)) and payments are collected by most banks.

New Tax on Corporations

Ley No. 9024 Impuesto a las Personas Jurídicas

According to the new law number 9024 “Impuesto a las Personas Jurídicas,” published in the official newspaper “La Gaceta” on December 27, 2011, this new tax is now being collected. The tax was set at 50% of the base salary established in the year for entities considered “active” or having economic activity and at 25% of the base salary established in the year for entities considered “non active.” Normally, this tax will be collected in the month of January, but as the law started to apply in April, 2012, this year the proportionate share must be paid by April 30th, 2012. In dollars, the corresponding tax is USD$271.00 for an active legal entity and USD$135.50 for a non-active legal entity. The official collecting agent for this tax is Banco de Costa Rica (www.bancobcr.com) through all their branches.

ABC Real Estate Tamarindo

Casa Camille

Examples

Let’s use as an example Casa Europa, one of our listings which recently sold with a listed sales price of USD$299,000. The property is held through a corporation.

When performing an appraisal based on the construction value, excluding the land, landscaping, and furniture, it will come out to be lower than USD$220,000.00, hence the house will not be subject to paying the luxury home tax. This property would pay USD$747.50 in property taxes per year and it would pay USD$406.50 in tax on corporations.

Another example of a higher priced house would be our listing Casa Camille, with a price of USD$1,090,000.00. The property is held through a corporation.

Based on the fiscal value it has registered, it currently pays USD$154.00 per year in property taxes. When performing an appraisal based on the construction value, it applies for the luxury home tax, then the value of the land is included and the amount of luxury home tax paid per year is $1,077.00. This property would pay USD$747.50 in property taxes per year and it would pay USD$406.50 in tax on corporations.

This article was written by our agent Federico Jose Fernandez, who is also an expert in tax consulting. Feel free to contact him at A&A Consultores, and he will be happy to help you. Email: ffernandez@ayaconsu.com or call (506) 2653-6787.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s