When organizing a business in Costa Rica, entrepreneurs should be able to identify and capitalize on business opportunities. In doing so, tax opportunities, risks and formal obligations must be analyzed together with other factors that may have an impact in the business as may be the country: economy, security, environment, government stability, among others.
Specifically, in relation to tax issues, Costa Rica offers a variety of opportunities. Many tax opportunities could be obtained from a timely and comprehensive organization of the business when beginning activities in Costa Rica. Just the fact that Costa Rican tax system is based on the territoriality principle may provide soma tax benefits under specific circumstances (e.g. cross-border activities). However, this is not a general rule and each situation must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Resident taxpayers may enjoy other tax benefits concerning deferral of taxes (e.g. developers' tax benefit) or may enjoy non-taxable capital gains (when obtained from non-depreciable assets and non-habitual activities). As regards to non-residence, they are allowed to enjoy a tax waive when remitting income abroad, also, under specific conditions. Therefore, the possibility to enjoy the tax opportunities provided by our Tax system depends on entrepreneurs' possibility to have access to proper and timely information from a tax adviser.
We would like to offer in these lines an opportunity to have a brief overview of the main tax obligations that arise when doing business in Costa Rica. To that effect, we would like to focus on the main taxes applicable to local and foreign business doing business in Costa Rica. These would be: Income Tax applicable to resident and non-resident taxpayers; Value Added Tax (VAT) and Municipal business license tax.