Wednesday 28 September 2022

Costa Rica Taxpayers would pay millions in fines for ‘factura electrónica’ errors

Users must assume their tax and commercial responsibility, instead of delegating it to electronic invoice providers

Paying the bills


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28 September 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

Paying the bills


As the obligatory ‘factura electrónica’ or electronic invoicing approaches for almost all taxpayers, it increases the number of software suppliers that provide this service in the country.

Users must assume their tax and commercial responsibility, instead of delegating it to electronic invoice providers

In the market, it is estimated that about 60 companies offer the services, some at very low prices. However, the Asociación GS Uno Costa Rica calls on Costa Ricans to pay close attention to the conditions of the contracted provider, as the taxpayer is solely responsible to the Directorate of Direct Taxation against an error or omission.

According to Article 83 of the Tax Code, for each error induced by a problem of electronic invoice software, the taxpayer must pay 1% of the base salary. The base salary for 2018 is set at ¢431,000 colones. Thus the fine is ¢ 4,310 colones, not a big deal, but one takes into account that the error is generated in 1,000 invoices, the amount to be paid will be ¢4,310,000 colones or US$7,700 at the current dollar exchange rate.

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The main errors committed by taxpayers are data with wrong formats in XML files, omission of exemption data in specific cases and miscalculation of sales tax once the exemption is applied.

Luis Paniagua, specialist in electronic invoicing of GS Uno affirms that “the taxpayers, whether personal or corporate, should be aware that the software or supplier they use to administer the process of invoicing complies with the requirements of resolution DGT-R-48-2016”.

In addition, taxpayers should pay attention that the companies that offer these services have a certificate granted by an impartial third party. For this reason, the Asociación GS Uno Costa Rica grants a “Seal of Guarantee” using global standards.

According to the association, currently, only 10 suppliers of electronic invoice solutions have the Guarantee Seal of GS Uno.

The recommendation of the experts is that taxpayers choose suppliers affiliated with the GS One Association and preferably have the Guarantee Seal that this organization grants, however if not, they must take into account that the service provider is a formal company, duly registered with legal status and if it is a web solution must be registered as issuer and receiver with Taxation and with the ability to demonstrate that it complies with the resolution issued by the Ministerio de Hacienda.

Taxpayers should not delegate their responsibility of the tax process in the suppliers of their electronic invoice software solution, they should keep an eye on details such as the version of the system they use  that is the latest; to the notifications that the Ministerio de Hacienda sends you in case of errors and to the time of storage of the tax information, which generally in the free solutions do not exceed three months, however, all the contributors are obliged to keep the backups of their electronic invoices of at least five years.

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“Each taxpayer has particular characteristics…the supplier must adapt to the user and not the other way around,” said Guillermo Varela, executive director of GS Uno.

Varela reminds that training is another tool that taxpayers can use to avoid making mistakes

The obligatory electronic invoicing applies to all starting on November 1. The process started in January applied professionals in accounting, financing and administration and starting on September 1 applied to all taxpayers based on the last digit of their personal or corporate cedula as follows:

  • September 1: 1, 2 & 3
  • October 1: 4, 5 & 6; and,
  • November 1: 7, 8, 9 & 0.

Exonerations of sales tax (not a complete list) allowed by the Ministerio de Hacienda:

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– Authorized Purchases
– Exempt sales to diplomats
– Purchase order (public institutions and other bodies)
– Exemptions General Directorate of Finance
– Free trade zone

Source (in Spanish):

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Paying the bills
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