On September 1st of the current year, Law Number 10008 was finally put into effect in Costa Rica, called “Law to attract workers and remote service providers of an international nature”. The regulation seeks to promote the attraction of this group of people who carry out their work remotely. This, in order to increase both the expenditure of resources of foreign origin, as well as the development of long-stay visits in our national territory.
This law is issued in the context of economic reactivation and in order to attract investment to the country. By attracting employees of foreign entities or independent professionals who provide services to clients abroad.
The logic of the regulations is to create an attractive environment, from the tax and paperwork perspective, which, together with the natural beauty of our country, manages to attract individuals to locate for a period of time in Costa Rica. The above in order to generate jobs and consumption.
The Law establishes the following aspects in general:
The General Directorate of Migration and Immigration is empowered as the administrative body in charge of carrying out the proceedings related to the granting of the immigration subcategory of stay.
For the application procedure for this category, a specific form must be submitted and the necessary information must be provided to comply with the relevant requirements. Within a period of fifteen calendar days, the aforementioned Directorate must resolve the process.
In addition, some benefits granted through this law are:
– Immigration benefit for a period of one year – extendable to a period of one additional year.
– The beneficiaries will have total exemption from the Income Tax.
– An exemption is granted to natural persons who provide their services from Costa Rica, despite meeting the subjection criteria established in the Income Tax Law. The exemption is limited to the treatment of income from wages or services that the interested party receives from his clients or employer from abroad. The exemption would not be extended to other taxes that may apply in cases where the “nomad” decides to invest locally.
– They will be exempt from all import taxes on basic personal computer equipment, telecommunications; necessary for the fulfillment of their tasks -when they comply with the guidelines of the General Directorate of Customs.
The regulations are interesting and allow Costa Rica to compete as a destination for this new type of work with other destinations that have issued similar regulations. From a tax technique perspective, the wording of the standard presents some inconsistencies that, if required, must be resolved through interpretation.
The foregoing, in the understanding that at first, the rule grants an exemption from income tax to the income obtained from the procedures carried out in Costa Rica and subsequently indicates that under no circumstances will the income received from abroad be considered qualify as income from a Costa Rican source.
The inconsistency lies in the fact that in order to grant an exemption, we must first be in the presence of an assumption of subjection. That is, an exemption is granted on an income that is affected. For this reason, the final sentence of Article 16, which provides that under no circumstances is it supposed that the income obtained from the procedures carried out in Costa Rica qualify as income from a Costa Rican source is contradictory.
However, considering the legislator’s spirit and the discussion that was held in relation to the purposes pursued for the approval of the Law, it can be concluded that the country chose to sacrifice locally collecting the tax on wages or tax on professional activities obtained by natural persons who, within the term granted by law, carry out their services from the local territory. The intention prevails to increase the consumption of goods and services that result in jobs and higher collection in terms of other taxes, such as the Value Added Tax.
The new regulations make it possible to place the country as an interesting destination, however success will depend on the agility of the competent authorities to start up and above all that access is agile.