Land taxes are up for collection.

Fourth quarter of 2012 has to be paid before the end of December.

Municipalities are pesenting for collection the bill for land taxes for the fourth quarter of the year 2012, which has to be paid before the end of December.

Land taxes corresponding to the fourthquarter of the year 2012 are already up for collection. The period for the payment of the fourth quarter of 2012 for land taxes (without any penalties or interest charges) will end on December 31st.

Land taxes in Costa Rica are managed and collected by the corresponding Municipality (county government) of the area where the property is located. Up to this date, the different Municipalities in Costa Rica have had different systems for this task; some have been fairly good, others not so much. In trying to improve such situation, the Municipalities have been working in implementing new information systems to have a better management of the information regarding land taxes. This has caused delays in the supply of the corresponding information by them and/or the supply of erroneous information. For this year of 2012, it looks like the information supply process by the Municipalities has improved and we have been having better information from them.

Land owners have certain obligations to fulfill in regards to land taxes. The main ones are:

i)- declare the value of the property.

Every five year the value for land taxes purposes of the property needs to be declared before the corresponding Municipality. This value has to be coincident with the real value of the purchase of the property or (if at the time of purchase the bill of purchase indicated a value smaller than the real one or if the purchase took place years ago) an update estimated value, which the owner of the property will have to provide. The declaration of property value requires filling in a form which is provided by the Municipality. The said declaration of value is to be made at least once every five years. Once the value is declared, it will be used as the basis for the corresponding calculation of taxes in the next year.

This basis value may be adjusted by the Municipality by means of an appraisal (of which the owner of the property will have to be notified) or it may also be modified by the Municipality when the owner of the property obtains building permits for improvements on the property.

At the time of presenting the above indicated value declaration, several documents need to be presented with the form, such as: property title documents, copy of the survey of the property, certified copies of corporate documents and corporate ID, and copy of the ID of the representative of the corporation (in those cases where the owner is a corporation).

ii)- proceed to pay the corresponding land taxes.

The amount of tax is going to be equivalent to 0.25% of the declared value of the property per year, once the corresponding value declaration has been presented. In the meantime, the Municipality will assign an amount of calculated tax to be paid if the value declaration has not been presented.

Lands taxes are charge every quarter by each Municipality, such payments being due on the last day of March, June, September and December for each corresponding quarter. At any time during the year, a payment can be made for the land taxes for the whole year, but if such payment is made after the last day of corresponding quarter, some penalties and interest will apply for said quarter.

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