COSTA RICA NEWS – For many of us that have either moved to or you are planning on moving to Costa Rica having a vehicle is something that crosses our minds. If you jump on any of the websites on which you can find vehicles to purchase in the country you might be thrown for a loop when reading the prices. Vehicles that you can purchase for $2,000 to $3,000 in the USA are being sold for close to $10,000 in Costa Rica…..everyone asks the same question, WHY?
The biggest reason for this is the astronomical import taxes that Costa Rica places on basically each and every used vehicle that is brought into the country. At the beginning of 2014 the import taxes changed for vehicles being brought into the country but not by much. These import tax numbers are very hard to come by for many seeking to ship their vehicle to Costa Rica as they were never updated on many of the government websites and unless you know where to look and who to talk to you would never know.
The value of the vehicle is based on what Costa Rica says it is which is called the Auto Valor. In expat terminology I like the call it the “Costa Rica Blue Book Value”. These are found at the Hacienda Valor website which is in Spanish.
Old Rates – Based on Age of Vehicle
- 1 – 3 Years Old – 52.29%
- 4 – 5 Years Old – 63.91%
- 6 + Years Old – 79.03%
New Rates – Based on Age of Vehicle
- 1 – 5 Years Old – 52.29%
- 6 + Years Old – 73..21%
You will get a break if you vehicle is 4 plus years old with the new tax rates. But remember the points below.
- Costa Rica includes the cost of shipping in the value of the vehicle. If it costs you US$1,000 to get it down to Costa Rica that amount is part of the import taxes.
- Yes, the taxes are lower for newer vehicles when it comes to % but the actual amount is going to be higher. For example if you import a 2013 vehicle valued at US$20,000 you are going to pay close to US$11,500 for registration and taxes. If you import a 2007 vehicle valued at US$5000 you are going to pay closer to US$3,500. I know this may seem obvious to some but more than once we have heard people say so it is less to bring in newer vehicles. One other thing you need to remember is that Costa Rica includes the cost of shipping in the value of the vehicle.
If you want help with determining what the taxes and registration will be on your vehicle, contact Shipping Costa Rica for a FREE quote.
Is it Worth Shipping a Vehicle to Costa Rica?
This is a question we get all the time from people thinking of moving to Costa Rica and shipping their items to their new home. If you are dead set on having a vehicle in Costa Rica and do not want to use the public transportation which is totally understandable then my answer is yes ship a vehicle down for the following reasons:
- The costs of the vehicles in Costa Rica have the import taxes and other costs in their selling price. If someone ships a vehicle from the USA and they pay $5,000 for the vehicle, $1,000 for shipping, US$500 for registration, US$3,500 for taxes and about US$500 for other fees; they are not going to sell the vehicle for $5,000 they are most likely going to be selling it for closer to US$10,000. Take a look on websites like Craigslist or AutoTico.
- You do not know the history of the vehicle you are buying in Costa Rica. Although Costa Rica is trying to cut down on this now, in the past many vehicles declared as totaled in the USA were shipped to Costa Rica, the odometers rolled back and sold in Costa Rica. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans many of those flood damaged vehicles were shipped to Costa Rica and sold. There is no CarFax in Costa Rica. At least if you bring your own vehicle you know its past.
- People Hold Onto Their Vehicles FOREVER. Because of the fact it costs so much to replace or buy a vehicle in Costa Rica most people hold into their vehicles until they are on their last legs. If something goes wrong it is cheaper to spend a few hundred dollars to replace the part than to buy a new vehicle, but when more and more parts start to fail it can add up quick.
- Shipping a Vehicle May Pay for Your Entire Move. If you are shipping a 20 foot container adding a vehicle to the mix and making it a 40 foot container is not that much more, around $1500 with processing of the vehicle in Costa Rica. If you do it right and pick the correct vehicle you can sell the vehicle here for a nice profit and pay for your relocation to Costa Rica.
If you are thinking about relocating to Costa Rica and/or shipping a vehicle to Costa Rica contact Shipping Costa Rica at the link below for your free quote.
Article by Costa Rican Times, reprinted with permission.