The Hacienda, the Costa Rica tax authority, has announced that it will begin a dissolution process for over 74,000 Costa Rician corporations who have not paid their annual taxes or are otherwise inactive. This includes Sociedades Anónimas (S.A.) or Sociedades de Responsabilidad Limitada (S.R.L.).
Over the years many expats have created corporations for their homes, vehicles, businesses, and other entities, to protect their assets from collateral damages in cases of legal actions against them (for example, under the law a home cannot be considered an asset that can be attached as the result of damages from a vehicle accident, if either are in separate corporations.) Many of those corporations have failed to pay their annual taxes, either due to oversight, negligence, or simply not knowing that a tax was due. In other cases the reason for forming the corporation may have been sold or otherwise disposed of, or no longer exist. Therefore, the dissolution of a corporation can expose the owner(s) to liability arising from other sources. The Hacienda is taking this action in an effort to collect back taxes.
If you are a corporation officer and the signing authority, and wish to protect your corporation, its assets, or to just continue to maintain the corporation, paying any and all back taxes is the only way to accomplish it. Those interested in catching up and avoiding the dissolution should pay for the periods owed as soon as possible. Payment can be made through the website of any of any bank that maintains an agreement with the Hacienda, or in person at the of those banks. The identification number of the persona juridical must be supplied, and the amount to be paid must include the back taxes plus any interest accrued.
Anyone who desires to review the list of delinquent corporations may do so by going to the Hacienda website, www.hacienda.go.cr (under the section “personas juridicas¨ in the banner at the top of the page) or view them directly in the section “situacion tributaria” by entering the numero de Cedula juridica of the responsible person.
The dissolution process will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Article 7 of the Law 9428 (Ley del Impuesto a Las Personas Judicas) published en el Alcance Digital # 64 a la Gaceta #58, on March 22, 2017.
Affected parties should be aware that a dissolution does not imply that the debtor is released from payment for the periods owed, and under the law the Direcion General de Tributation is entitled to continue efforts to collect any back taxes which are owed, including charging them to the stockholders who were listed at the time of the formation of the corporation, and hold them jointly and severally liable for the payment of the tax.
Resources raised in this manner are to be used by the Ministerio de Seguridad Publica to finance the physical infrastructure of police stations, purchase and maintenance of police equipment, attention to citizen security, and to support the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) in their efforts against organized crime.
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