QCOSTARICA – The Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance), Costa Rica’s version of the IRS, closed at 9:33 am Friday, the headquarters of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) in Barrio Tournón, San José, due to a tax dispute.
The closure is valid for five calendar days, according to the penalties for partial closure of businesses.
The party alleged that the action was due to an expired withholding in 2016 when it made the payment of a tax two days late.
“Today, the Ministerio de Hacienda went to the building of the headquarters of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana and made a closure based on the execution of an order that was in 2016, in which the party had been warned of that he had not made a withholding of remittances abroad from the payment of an invoice to an advisor who had been hired for that campaign,” said Randall Quirós, president of the party
The political party complained that the closure takes place hours before the provincial assemblies this Sunday, September 5, to elect candidates for deputies.
The general director of Taxation, Carlos Vargas, replied that the measure is not electoral-related, but is the result of non-compliance with the payment of outstanding obligations, which he did not detail.
“Consequently, this gave rise to the application of the sanction of the closing of businesses where, like any other taxpayer, he had the opportunity to have all the necessary rights to be able to exercise his defense. Once the sanction of the business closure has been finalized, today we proceed with the material execution of the closure,” explained Vargas.
Faced with the closure of the property, the president of the PUSC filed an appeal for electoral protection before the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) so that the Taxation action be considered suspended.
At the same time, the red-and-blue leader demands that the provincial assemblies this Sunday in Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago and Limón remain firm.
The TSE immediately issued a first resolution in which it clarifies that the closure of the national headquarters does not prevent the political group from holding its provincial assemblies.
“Take into consideration that, in any case, such party acts will be held in places other than the premises whose temporary closure ordered the tax authority,” the five electoral magistrates resolved.
That statement says that the admissibility of the appeal for electoral protection “will not suspend the effects of the laws or other normative provisions questioned, but the application of these to the appellant, as well as that of the specific acts challenged.”
This weekend, the provincial assemblies of the PUSC would elect the executive committees of the four provinces, as well as national delegates, delegates from cantons that do not have sufficient representation and candidates for legislators.
Without all the boring details of the tax dispute, in his complaint, Quirós insists that five years later the Ministry of Finance carries out the closure, in the middle of an electoral campaign.