QCOSTARICA – In order to better collect taxes and tax control on businesses, the Ministry of Finance (Ministry of Finance) has teamed up with the Chamber of Banks and Financial Institutions (Cámara de Bancos e Instituciones Financieras) to promote the use of plastic money in the country.

Consumers making purchases with their debit and credit cards will automatically take part in a lottery with a total payout of ¢100 million colones, in three draws: the first for ¢50 million, the second ¢30 million and third ¢10 million colones.

Through card payments, tax authorities have more control over the tax collected from retailers, reducing the differences of actual and reported sales, including eliminating discounts offered to customers for paying in cash.

For the banks, the aim is to motivate more people to join the banking system.

According to William Quesada, president of the Chamber, for every ¢3.000 colones of goods and services purchased with plastic, the consumer will receive one point (two when plastic is used to pay for professional services, ie. legal, accounting, etc) for the lottery.

Fernando Rodriguez, vice-minister of Finance, said they know that not all of the population is connected to the banking system (“bancarizada” in Spanish), the lottery is a way to encourage the use of banks.

Earlier this year, the Ministerio de Hacienda began a 2% withholding from the income of retailers on all purchases made with plastic, which amount is applied towards the tax responsibility of the business.

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