TICO BULL — On Monday, the 2015 Marchamo went on sale. The INS made a big deal that 2015 was cheaper than the 2014. But, based on comments on the social media by those who have already paid, the lower cost is all in the “point of view”.

The INS, the Instituto Nacional de Seguros, is the the state insurance company providing the Seguro Obligatorio de Automóviles (SOA) – “mandatory” insurance coverage, and the state agency in charge of collecting the Marchamo payments.

A printout of my 2015 Marchamo.
A printout of my 2015 Marchamo.

What the INS said was that the 2015 insurance portion was, on average 7% lower than 2014. 9% for owners of light passenger vehicles.

But the SOA only represents 20% of the total cost of the Marchamo. The bulk of the total cost is the  IMPUESTO A LA PROPIEDAD DE VEHICULOS – “property tax” on vehicles.

Using my own vehicle as an example, the property tax on my 1994 Cadillac is ¢62.000 colones, representing 64.5% of the total cost of ¢96.000.

From the point of view of the INS, the cost of the Marchamo is down over last year. But, it is only talking about insurance.

In reality, for most the cost is up. The property tax is based on the “fiscal value” – this is the value the taxman places on each vehicle, sometimes based on reality, mostly though some made up number, which it then applies a tax rate.

The tax rate did not drop, it actually went up 6%. The The Minister of Finance, Helio Fallas, had only this to say, “It’s not that we want to take more money”.

I say made up, invented, a fantasy because my Cadillac had Fiscal Value of 6.370.000  in 2005, going up to 6.780.000 in 2009. It was only after I filed a complaint, had  review done that it dropped to 4.000.000 in 2010 and since it has been dropping gradually, as it should, based on annual depreciation. You have to watch closely those sneaky tax guys/gals.

My vehicle’s Fiscal Values:

  • 2015: 3.060.000
  • 2014: 3.210.000
  • 2013: 3.420.000
  • 2012: 3.620.000
  • 2011 3.8000.000

Then there is the 13% sales tax, which is applied to all the other amounts.

So, when you hear about a drop in the 2015 Marchamo, it’s all from a certain point of view.


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