Ministro de Hacienda (Minister of Finance) Helio Fallas.
Ministro de Hacienda (Minister of Finance) Helio Fallas.

QCOSTARICA – The proposal being presented by the Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance) to change the current Salex Tax to a Value Added Tax (VAT) –  Impuesto al Valor Agregado (IVA), in Spanish – will be similar to that included in the failed “Fiscal Plan” of 2012.

Helio Fallas, Ministro de Hacienda (Minister of Finance) said the proposal is so similar to the previous it should go through the legislative process smoothly, as most issues have already been negotiated by the interest groups.

The minister says its 90% the same, so “there should be no problem.”

The move towards the VAT would apply a sales tax on services (currently only on goods). The proposal is also reduce the tax for Education and exempt goods and services deemed essential.

Edgar Ayales, former Minister of Finance, supported the idea. “I wish it had been done much earlier. Is that there aren’t many options. This is a proposal that was prepared long ago, it is now a political question when to present it,” said Ayales, who acted as minister of Finance for the last two years during the government of Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014).

Minister Fallas says the approval of the proposal by the Legislative Assembly will give a positive signal to the risk taking firms and investors, which could prevent an increase in interest rates.

Last week, Fitch Ratings has revised the Rating Outlook on Costa Rica’s Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to Negative from Stable and affirmed the IDRs at ‘BB+’.

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