QCOSTARICA – By a majority voter, on Thursday legislators approved in second and final debate the reduction in the 2022 Marchamo, along with the condonation of some one million vehicles with outstanding payments.
The final vote was 32 in favor and six against. Now, the initiative passes to Casa Presidencial, for the signature of President Carlos Alvarado who can sign it and becomes law, or decide to veto it.
The six votes against were from the ruling party, the Partido Accion Cuiadanada(PAC) and independent Paola Vega, while the favor were five from the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC), 12 de Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN), five from Partido Restauración Nacional (PRN), one from the Frente Amplio, and two Partido Integración Nacional (PIN), five from Nueva República bloc, and two independents.
The initiative establishes a reduction of the property tax of vehicles that ranges between 9% and 45%. Light-duty vehicles (vehicles with the CL license plate, ie a pickup) will receive an additional 20% discount.
As to the condonation, all back-owed Marchamos will be forgiven if the property owner pays the 2022 Marchamo by December 31, 2021.
That is to say, if you owe 3, 5, 7, 15 or more periods, the slate will be wiped clean with the prompt payment of the current Marchamo. Edwin Masis, legislator proponent of the condonation explained that it is a give and take, while the government loses on outstanding payments, that for the most part are unrecoverable, it will pick up the 2022 and forward payments, getting the vehicle back on the road or its owner in good standing with the Traffic Police.
It is important to note that many vehicles fall into arrears of the Marchamo, not necessarily for the lack of ability to pay, rather it is much easier and cheaper to let a vehicle not in use – too old to maintain, mechanical problems, even been involved in an accident – to let it slide into arrears than to pay the costs of uninscribe it. It is not known how many of the almost one million vehicles fall into that category.
Upon hearing the news of the approval, the Minister of Finance, Elian Villegas, reacted, who has described the project as fiscal irresponsibility for reducing public revenues by ¢30 billion colones.
He affirmed that the revision should be carried out within the framework of the fiscal adjustment process “which has been bearing positive results and which must be taken care of.” Therefore, he said, the different aspects that could affect the fiscal adjustment will be analyzed to issue a recommendation to the Casa Presidencial.
“Justice has been done. With the votes of the Nueva República bloc, the bill that lowers the Marchamo was approved in the second debate. This measure of solidarity that will bring relief, now depends on President Alvarado, who will have to dedicate ten seconds to sign the law before October 31,” said Jonathan Prendas, legislator for the Nueva República.
The current year Marchamo goes to collection by the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS) – state insurer – on November 1 of each year and vehicle owners have until December 31 to pay, failing will have late charges and interest tacked on starting January 1.
Unlike in years gone by, there is no longer a grace period in the first days of the new year and drivers behind the wheel face a traffic ticket, along with the possible seizure of the vehicle or license plate.
Back to the presidential signature. A third option Carlos Alvarado has is to do nothing and let the time run out.