In typical Costa Rican fashion, on the second day of the implementation of the Value Added Tax (VAT), the legislators approved the bill that decrees a period of three months in which the Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance) cannot apply any penalty generated by errors in the declaration, settlement, and payment of the new tax.

Though the Minister of Finance, Rocio Aguilar, had announced the moratorium last week (prior to the start of the new tax), the bill had not been approved, which meant that the moratorium on sanctions did not exist until yesterday.

The moratorium is for taxpayers to catch up and comply with all the obligations associated with the new tax and forgive penalties in the case of errors or omissions, but does not apply to fraud, serious fines or the intent to avoid paying the tax.

“I thank the legislators for this step that leads us to greater tranquility in the citizenship before the beginning of this tax,” president Carlos Alvarado wrote on Twitter. “It (the moratorium) gives balance to the uncertainty of the population with the introduction of the VAT”.