If you are going to start and formalize a business in Costa Rica, review the procedures that you must carry out in the case of commercial, industrial or agricultural companies, as well as the steps to register in the MEIC and MAG entities.
When talking to entrepreneurs, one of the situations that most arises is that of the procedures to start a business. And the first inconvenience is knowing or having information about what they are.
With the risk that some of the steps or procedures indicated here may change —hopefully to facilitate and speed up business creation— the following are the main documents or applications that you should present. Remember that registration with the Ministry of Finance or to open bank accounts for your company are part of the tasks to be carried out.
In fact, the previous week, the government announced the signing by the Presidency and the Ministry of Health of the decree that allows obtaining sanitary operating permits in one day and that adds to the facilities of the Single Investment Window (VUI). It remains to be seen if the entities comply. You should also remember that the procedures vary depending on the economic activity of the business you want to create.
As of June 2021, according to the Statistical Yearbook of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), in Costa Rica there were 84,414 employers who employed almost 1.6 million people. Of these, 70,235 were employers of private companies, with a total payroll of 961,841 workers.
What are the main procedures that a person must carry out to create a business and formalize it from the beginning?
According to the response issued by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC), the steps to create and formalize a business are:
1. Request for land use before the local government.
2. Application for the Veterinary Certificate of Operation (CVO) before the National Animal Health Service (Senasa) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) or the Sanitary Operating Permit before the Ministry of Health; as appropriate according to the economic activity to be developed.
3. Application for a work risk policy or exemption from an insurer.
4. Registration as a taxpayer in the Single Registry of Taxpayers with the Ministry of Finance.
5. Municipal patent application with the local government.
6. Registration with the CCSS and registration of personnel.
The MEIC recalled that in order to carry out these procedures, the interested person must not be in debt with the CCSS.
Where can a person interested in starting or creating a business find the list of procedures that need to be carried out to formally start a company?
People can find the list on the website of the Single Investment Window. You can also find more detailed information on the procedures in the Manual for Entrepreneurs in Costa Rica. And, in addition, the guide of the National Learning Institute (INA) is available.
SME registration in MEIC
What are the procedures to register as an SME in the MEIC?
You must enter the Costa Rican Business Information System (SIEC) page and access the SME Registry icon.
—The next step is to register as a user by providing an email and a password.
—Once registered, you can log in and click on SME Condition Registration.
“It is important to mention that as part of the simplification actions, this procedure is carried out by means of an affidavit, so it is not necessary to attach the documents that are currently requested in the system, such as the last income statement and the receipt. of the payment of the work risk policy”, indicated the MEIC.
Does the SME registry replace the registration procedures of a company?
General procedures are not replaced. “The general procedures for opening a company should always be carried out,” stressed the MEIC. The Ministry explained that the SME Registry is voluntary and to obtain it, two of three requirements must be met: be registered with the Ministry of Health, with the CCSS and have a work risk policy or exemption.
Procedures for factories
What happens in the case of paperwork for a factory?
According to the Chamber of Industries of Costa Rica, the procedures to be taken into account are:
—Certificate of land use granted by the competent Municipality.
—Sanitary operating permit granted by the Ministry of Health.
—Occupational risk policy.
—Employer registration with the CCSS.
—Registration with the Single Tax Registry of the Ministry of Finance.
—Environmental assessment document from Setena.
—Availability of water before the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA).
—Veterinary operation certificate issued by the National Animal Health Service (Senasa), when applicable.
And if you want to be a beneficiary of the Free Zone Regime?
—Application for admission to the Free Zone Regime, before the Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer) and the Ministry of Finance.
—Registration of the beneficiary company of the Free Zone Regime, before the General Directorate of Migration.
—Stays for a company benefiting from the Free Zone Regime, before the General Directorate of Migration.
—Executives of companies benefiting from the Free Zone Regime, before the General Directorate of Migration.
Procedures for agricultural businesses
What are the procedures to create and formalize an agricultural company?
According to the Directorate of Agricultural Extension, the State Phytosanitary Service (SFE) and Senasa, all from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), the procedures to create and formalize an agricultural company or business are:
—Register with the Ministry of Finance as a taxpayer and the procedures are defined by that Institution.
—In the case of producers of the basic foods basket, they must also register as a marketer, distributor and producer of products included in the basic tax basket and their inputs in accordance with the rules and provisions of:
-Regulation of basic tax basket
-Procedure to request the registration, the special orders for the authorization of the exemption or reduced rate of the Value Added Tax.
-Reform of the procedure to request registration, special orders for, the authorization of the exemption or reduced rate of the Value Added Tax.
If the activity is of a livestock nature, the registration procedures and authorizations are defined by the National Animal Health Service, which is the body that provides the Veterinary Certificate of Operation (CVO).
If the activity is of an agricultural nature for export, nurseries or related to agricultural inputs, the regulations are issued by the State Phytosanitary Service (SFE).
Pympa registration in MAG
What are the procedures to register as a producer in the MAG?
In the MAG you can register in the Registry of Small and Medium Producers (Pympa):
—Pympa certification is carried out by the MAG in accordance with the procedure, requirements and classifications established in articles 5 to 10 of Executive Decree 37911-MAG.
—Certification as a producer in general for tax purposes in accordance with Article 6 of Resolution No. MAG-DGT-R-52-2019.
The Pympa Registry is done once and is updated once a year. It can be done in a personal capacity (natural person) or as a corporation (legal person)
What are the steps to follow for Pympa registration?
—The interested party must go to the Agricultural Extension Agency closest to the place where his farm is located to register.
—The user must bring their identity card and a document that allows corroborating the location information of the farm and the owner (literal certification of the property). In the case of legal persons, their legal representative must appear.
—If the farm is rented, provide a rental document (where the owner of the farm states that he rents a certain amount of land; with the personal data of the owner and those of the tenant). You must provide the information of the farm and the owner of the farm and give a sworn statement in this regard if the property is not in the name of the producer.
—The forms are in the registration system administered by the National Directorate of Agricultural Extension and conform to those stipulated in annexes 1 and 2 of Executive Decree 37911-MAG.
—The MAG officials in the regions enter the information provided by the user into the system.
—Once registered, the user must update the information every year or every time there are changes in the use of the land, agricultural activities carried out, tenure or other important data to update.
—Once the registration is done, the maximum term that MAG officials have to deliver the certificate to the interested party is 10 days. However, it can be issued in advance.
—The user must sign a Sworn Declaration: the sworn declaration is a document issued by the same system and what it contains is the information that the interested party provides, for which no additional document is requested.
Does this registry replace the general procedures for registering a company?
No. The previous registration only certifies the person’s status as an agricultural producer in a primary activity (either plant or animal production).
In the MAG it was reiterated that there are other instances that authorize companies to operate, such as the Ministry of Finance, the Phytosanitary Service and Senasa, among others.