QCOSTARICA – Legislators of the Financial Affairs Committee (Comisión de Asuntos Hacendarios) on Tuesday approved a the text for the draft tax fraud bill that creates a registry of shareholders to which the tax authority would have unrestricted access.
The main objective of the draft is to improve the fight against tax fraud, enabling the Directorate of Taxation (Dirección General de Tributación) to seize the assets and bank accounts of taxpayers classified as delinquent. The action would require the order of a judge, to protect the rights of corporations.
Embargoes could be extended for a period of up to two years.
The draft text was supported by nine of the ten legislators present at the time of voting; the sole objection from legislator, Otto Guevara, of the Movimiento Libertario party.
According to the report by La Nacion, “…with the changes, the taxation department would have unrestricted access to the registry database under the condition that they notify shareholders that the Government is consulting their information. The same thing would not happen in cases concerning an investigation by the Costa Rica Drug Institute (ICD)”.
As for the concept of a judge’s order, shareholders could use it to protect their privacy on the data. If they (the corporation) considers the information was leaked or consulted without notice, the judge would have the power to dismiss officials responsible for a leak.
Thus, it is intended that the corporations under investigation would not have their rights violated in the case of seizure and access of information by the tax department.
The Central Bank of Costa Rica (BCCR) would be the administrator of the register of shareholders and beneficiaries.
While the draft text was being approved, the parties: Acción Ciudadana (PAC), Liberación Nacional (PLN), Frente Amplio and Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) have been negotiating agreement to apply ‘fast track’ to the bill, limiting the number of motions that can present legislators and set a deadline for the final vote.