Avenida Segunda
Avenida Segunda in downtown San José

QCOSTARICA – Almost one third (28%) of drivers are exposing themselves to a ¢49.000 traffic fine and/or confiscation of license plates for not having paid the 2015 Marchamo.

The deadline was December 31.

More than half of the non-payment are of motorcycle owners, according to the Registro Nacional (National Property Registry), revealing that some 907.967 of the 1.250.000 registere vehicles have their 2015 Marchamo paid.

Aisen Artavia, of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS) – national insurer, the state agency responsible for the collection said that ¢142 billion of the expected ¢176 billion colones has been collected, leaving ¢34 billion still unpaid.

In reality, the number of vehicle owners yet to pay and the final amount to be collected by the INS is much lower, given that the “unpaid” figures includes a large number of vehicles that are no longer in circulation, vehicles written off by their owners, but never formally unregistered.

Included are vehicles with a total loss resulting from an accident, junked vehicles, and the thousands of vehicles abandoned by their owners for non-payment of fines (ironically including past Marchamos) sitting in the “patios” (impound lots) of the Policia de Transito (traffic police).

In many cases, the fines owed on the vehicles in the impound lots is greater than the value of the vehicle. In other cases, the registered owner cannot be found and the vehicle remains unclaimed. Only the registered owne can make claim to an impounded vehicle. With respect to the latter, a trend of not updating registration to avoid paying the transfer tax leaves the new owner having to track down the original registrant in the event the vehicle is impounded.

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