The VAT and UBER

At Uber, we consider it a priority to be up to date with the tax responsibilities of the cities and countries in which we operate


Rico’s TICO BULL – “We remain committed to the country,” reads the headline of the email Uber sent its customers on Monday, July 1, with the start of the Value Added Tax (VAT) or Impuesto de Valor Agregado (IVA) in Spanish.

“At Uber, we consider it a priority to be up to date with the tax responsibilities of the cities and countries in which we operate. This has been our commitment since the first day we started operations in Costa Rica. The VAT or Value Added Tax will not be the exception,” says the Uber email addressed personally to the user (me).

Uber says it wanted to communicate that is has taken all provisions to be in absolute compliance in order to implement the collection of this tax in 100% of their trips and are waiting on the final resolutions by the competent entities, the Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance) to be issued to be included in 100% of the trips, regardless of the payment method (cash or plastic) used.


We know that the subject can be complex, so we leave you a list of questions you could have about it.

In the Q&A section of the email, Uber explains that it will begin collecting the VAT after authorities resolve that they must do so. “At the moment, everything continues to work as usual and we are taking all the necessary provisions to comply with the regulations,” says Uber.

Would this, the VAT change Uber’s status in Costa Rica?

Uber, in the email, said that it is a company that operates legally in the country since the launch of the operation more than 3 years ago and during this time have responsibly fulfilled all the tax obligations required by law.

“With the entry into force of VAT, we reiterate our commitment to continue contributing to the country, acting under the current legislative framework,” says the company.

Leading up to the VAT going into force, Uber had said it would collect the 13% tax while the Treasury said it would refuse to charge the tax for Uber being an illegal operation.

Is Uber going to collect the 13% tax or not?

From the email, hard to say. In one instance it says it will wait until the ‘competent authorities’ resolve the matter – it is not clear if it is referring to the Ministerio de Hacienda or the legislative process where a bill to legalize Uber is making its political trip to approval.

On the Uber app, my usual trip to Lindora is not being taxed. Is this because I am not using a local payment method or is it because Uber is not yet collecting the tax?

My visit to Pricesmart this afternoon was my first-hand experience with the new tax on this first day, a US$9.75 tax is added to my Premium membership now, while the VAT on the regular membership is US$4.50.

In addition, my purchase today included ¢2,214 colones for the IVA (VAT), which is no big deal for yesterday (June 30) the amount would have been the same, just with a different name IVI or retail sales tax.

Whatever the case, I am not happy about it.

What has been your experience of your first of the VAT (IVA)? Post your comments below or to our official Facebook page.