Tuesday 6 December 2022

Bill forgiving of overdue Marchamos approved by lawmakers

To become law, approval in second debate, signing of the law and its publication is pending.

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QCOSTARICA – On Tuesday, the bill to forgive debts accumulated by pending Marchamos was approved in first debate, an initiative that has been tried to process in the Legislative Assembly since the second quarter of last year.

The annual circulation permit for vehicles, in Costa Rica called the Marchamo, is due by December 31 of every year.

The hill seeks to forgive owners of vehicles with overdue Marchamos, including penalties and late fees, with the payment of the 2002 Marchamo within three months after the law enters into force.

For example, an owner of a vehicle that has say five outstanding payments (years), that has by its nature accumulated large fines and late fees in addition to the original payment, can have it all forgiven with the payment of the most current due on December 31, 2021.

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Late fees and interest are applied on all outstanding Marchamos, accumulating until paid starting on January 1 of the year it applied.

An example of an unpaid Marchamo for 9 periods (including 2022). Note the late payment fees and interest (recargo) on the mandatory insurance, property tax, parking fines and on the value added tax (IVA).

Currently, there are around 441,000 motorcycles, 367,000 passenger vehicles, 15,000 buses, 27,000 heavy-duty and 110,000 light-duty vehicles, many that have either been abandoned from use or vehicles that are a write-off but have were never been unregistered due to the debt, that would benefit from the bill becoming law.

The forgiveness excludes boats and aircraft.

The bill must now complete its legislative process, which is submitted to a second debate and vote, and if approved, sent to Casa Presidencial for the President’s signature and then published in La Gaceta, the official government newsletter.

If you will recall, an earlier bill was approved in both debates last October to reduce the cost of the 2022 Marchamo that included the ‘forgiveness’ clause was vetoed by President Carlos Alvarado.

The presidential veto, a day prior to the start of the collection of the Marchamo, was with respect to reducing the cost of the 2022 circulation permit, as was done in 2020 for the 2021 Marchamo, and not specifically for the forgiveness clause.

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Casa Presidencial has not commented on Tuesday’s approval and the promoter of the bill, Edwin Masis, of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana, UNIDAD as the party calls itself now, is confident it will become law this time around.

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