The Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance) confirmed, through a statement issued today (November 23, 2017), that any Internet purchase, that is not for prohibited goods or for commercial purposes (only personal or family), and not exceeding US$500, are exempt from paying taxes.
The exemption is in accordance with the criterion issued by the Procuraduría General de la República (Attorney General’s Office) on August 10, 2017.
The Ministry explained the Article 37 of the Ley General de Aduanas (General Customs Law) definition of small shipments: “Small consignments of a non-commercial nature, are considered to be goods shipped from abroad for the use or consumption of the recipient or their family and exempt from the payment of duties, taxes and other charges, provided that its total value in customs does not exceed quinientos pesos centroamericanos”.
Hacienda’s reference to “quinientos pesos centroamericanos” is interpreted as US$500 dollars.
The key is the purchase to be exempt must be for personal or family use. Hacienda clarified that to apply for this exemption, it is a requirement that the recipient has not used the benefit during the last six months prior to the arrival of the merchandise, and that the merchandise is not for commercial purposes.
The tax exemption not automatic, the procedure can be carried out in person to the Aduana (Customs) or by means of a special power granted to a third party, conferred by the person who appears as consignee in the boarding document,
The exemption request requires an invoice from the seller and based on this invoice, Aduna determines the customs value, which is not necessarily the amount paid or invoiced for the item.
Hacienda noted that in order that citizens are not exposed to deception by companies not authorized for the courier service, they are reminded to use the companies duly registered in the Customs General Directorate. The list is available on the website of the Ministry of Finance website – www.hacienda.go.cr – “Registros y listados de interés”, “Aduanas” section.
Click here for a list of delivery companies authorized by Hacienda.