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(506) 2223-1327                                  San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 231                        Email us
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Arenal properties

Expats have a chance to duck higher property taxes
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expat homeowners can save significant amounts of money on municipal taxes if they file an assessment of value before Dec. 1.

Although current values still are in force, some municipalities are accepting the new valuations early, according to the Ministerio de Hacienda.

The valuations are good for five years, and by filing early, homeowners can duck new calculations that threaten to increase the municipal tax up to 50 percent.

The 2009 tables that provide indexes to value still are valid until Dec. 1. The 2015 values contain what the ministry calls a considerable increase.

A square meter of land assessed now at 1 million colons might be assessed under the new table at 1.5 million. The property taxes are calculated based on the valuations as is the impuesto solidario, the luxury home tax, the ministry noted.
Because the valuations endure for five years, the homeowner will save money on municipal taxes and the luxury home tax, if applicable, for that period.

This method to reduce the valuation and then the tax also is possible for new construction, the ministry noted. That is if the relevant municipality accepts the early filing.

Homeowners and other property owners are required to state the value of their real estate once every five years.

Ministry workers have been holding discussions with municipal officials on how to apply the new tables after Dec. 1

The luxury home tax is assessed on any dwelling and immediate property that is worth this year more than 122 million colons, about $226,000. 

The tax to be paid is equal to 0.25 percent of the property’s total value to a maximum tax rate of 0.55 percent since it is a progressive tax.

An A.M. Costa Rica editorial
Obama's immigration proposal is worth considering

By Jay Brodell
editor of A.M. Costa Rica

Barack Obama's timid effort to protect millions of illegal immigrants in the United States appears to make sense. The Devil is in the  details, as they say,

White House Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama delivers an address from the East Room of the White House
so a full evaluation cannot be done until the whole plan is public.

Obama has three parts to his executive order announced Thursday night. The first two are hardly controversial. He said he would reinforce the southern border of the U.S. to reduce illegal entries. He also supported a popular idea to allow foreign university graduates and those with advanced U.S. degrees to remain in the United States. The new Congress should put these principles into law in January.

Obama's speech . . . HERE!

His third point would give temporary immunity from deportation to illegals who come forward, register and agree to work and pay taxes. Those who have broken no laws other than those related to immigration would qualify if they have been in the United States five years.

A better plan would be to have all illegals register under penalty of deportation. The public estimates of illegal aliens in the United States are around 11 million. Private government estimates suggest there are many more. Officials at least need a good census to proceed further. The new Congress also should make sure that illegal aliens never obtain full U.S. citizenship.

The immigration situation in the United States has many parallels here. There are hundreds of thousands of illegal residents in Costa Rica. The government only seems interested in legalizing housekeepers and agricultural workers. Many expats live in the gray zone of perpetual tourism.

Obama is among the best in giving speeches. His plan, as he describes it, seems humane and possible. But the Devil is in the details.

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