An apparent error in the banking system could result in gas stations across the country to stop accepting credit and debit card payments.

According to the executive director of the Association of Fuel Expenders (Asociación de Expendedores de Combustible), Jose Miguel Masis, at the beginning of this month affiliated gas station operation detected banks withholding of 6% on their net sales.

However,  Ministerio de Hacienda (the Treasury) confirmed that the sale of gasoline is exempt from the application of sales tax.

Masis said Monday that after the announcement of the Treasury, they will wait until tomorrow, Tuesday, to define if they apply the measure of not accepting cards at the service stations.

The Association groups about 295 gas stations or 80% of the 371 licensed to operate in Costa Rica, according to records of the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (Aresep).

According to Masis, 60% of purchases at gas stations is with cards. The pressure measure could affect some 25,000 customers daily.

But is it legal, the refusal to accept cards?

If gas station refuse to accept cards they could be in violation of the law. Article 4 of the Ley para Mejorar la Lucha contra el Fraude Fiscal, N° 9416 (Law to Improve the Fight against Tax Fraud, No. 9416), stipulates that “all persons, whether natural or legal, with a lucrative activity that renders their services to the public, are obliged to accept, as alternative means of payment, credit or debit cards (…) “.

Carlos Vargas, director of Taxation, explained this Monday afternoon that the error was already detected and solved, so the withholding should not continue on Tuesday.


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