Although not as common as it used to be, a business not accepting plastic still occurs. But starting in July, with the entry of the Impuesto al Valor Agregado (IVA) –  Value Added Tax – businesses that do not accept credit or debit cards or an alternative form of digital payment face fines of ¢446,000 colones (one base salary*).

“It is important that businesses and those who provide services in general, must be aware that in addition to the VAT law and the reform of the law on income tax, this other obligation of electronic payments to avoid penalties”, said Silvia Gonzalez, Tax Manager at Grant Thornton.

The objective of the Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance) is that most payments be digital, for better control over taxpayers and eliminate tax evasion.

One example is the implementation of electronic invoices and the ATV (Administración Tributaria Virtu@l) portal – a taxpayer portal.

As well as the new platforms that it has to develop for the VAT refund in the health sector, in purchases through international platforms, and for authorizations in the system of purchases without tax.

The change would not be so sudden, because currently, Costa Rica leads in contactless payments in Latin America, in addition, its population is the second most bancarized in the continent.

In addition, the Central Bank announced the implementation of a program called Programa L (Entidad Libre  de Efectivo) – program designed between the Banco Central de Costa Rica and financial institutions, which aims to achieve the maximum use of the electronic services available to customers for their collection and payment transactions, which translates into the reduction of risk in cash management and the costs associated with it.

In other words, the Programa L urges institutions to improve conditions to pay with plastic in exchange for some incentives.

* In Costa Rica, ‘base salary’ is used to set fines. As the base salary changes, so does the amount of the fine applied