(TICO BULL by Rico) Owning a late model or new car in Costa Rica just doesn’t pay. Sure, who wouldn’t want to be stuck in traffic in a luxury car, one that can take all of the stress out of driving in and around the greater metropolitan area. Or, being the proud owner of that gorgeous vehicle you just parked at the front door of the Pali.

In Costa Rica, besides having to have the money to buy such a car (figure about twice the price the same care in the U.S.), there is the little thing called the Marchamo.

The cost of gasoline is the same. The Riteve (vehicle inspection) is the same. Even parking and traffic tickets are the same. But the Marchamo, the annual circulation permit, is not.

Almost two-thirds of the cost of the Marchamo is property tax. Yep, each and every year, a property tax is payable. A sweet deal for the state coffers.

And the amount payable is based on the fiscal (tax) value, a value that is established by the Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance) based on, well whatever they thing the value is or perhaps more bluntly, what they can get away with, that is what you, are willing to accept without question.

Yes, there is a review and appeal process, but few are willing to tackle it. The few that I know personally to challenge the fiscal value, did win. One told me the process was a walk in the park, the others they had to go through the hoops. But in the end was worth it.

So, with the start of next year’s Marchamo every November 1, it is nature to look up the highest amount to be paid.

For 2017 is the owner of this 2012 Lexus, which according to the INS website, will pay ¢8.810.694 colones (US$16.000 dollars). The consolation is that last year the owner paid out ¢9.688.00 colones.

Illustration of the vehicle with the highest paying Marchamo for 2017, a 2013 Lexus
Illustration of the vehicle with the highest paying Marchamo for 2017, a 2013 Lexus

Me, I’m going to stick to my two trusted vehicles, my 1975 Landcruiser that more than 40 years later still has a fiscal value of ¢480,000 colones and my 1986 Mercedes, an oldie, but a goodie. This year (for 2017) I pay ¢65.074 and ¢75.394 respectively.

Screenshot from the INS website indicating the fiscal value of ¢480,000 colones for my 1975 Landcruiser (plate number 1972)
Screenshot from the INS website indicating the fiscal value of ¢480,000 colones for my 1975 Landcruiser (plate number 1972)

They both get me to and from I want to go as the owner of the Lexus, with a major difference, if I had the ¢9 million colones, it would be in my pocket and not the taxman.

What is the fiscal value of your vehicle? Find out here.

What is the cost of the 2017 Marchamo for your vehicle? Find out here.

For my report on the 2017 Marchamo, click here.

What is your opinion on the Marchamo, the way Hacienda determines the tax value and in general what you think of the entire process? Make your voice heard using our comments section below or post to our official Facebook page.

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Article first appeared on TICO BULL, reposted with permission.

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! Rico brings his special kind of savvy to online marketing. His websites are engaging, provocative, informative and sometimes off the wall, where you either like or you leave it. The same goes for him, like him or leave him.There is no middle ground. No compromises, only a passion for presenting reality as he sees it!