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Business sector ask President Solís for stricter control of tax dodgers, black market sales

May 23, 2014

Members of Costa Rica’s Chamber of Commerce (CCCR) delivered President Luis Guillermo Solís a list of petitions asking him to increase actions to fight smuggling, tax evasion, black market sales and excessive bureaucracy in public agencies.

The request was made Thursday during a meeting at the Costa Rica Country Club, where entrepreneurs also asked Solís to increase measures against counterfeiting and fraudulent invoicing practices.

CCCR President Francisco Llobet told Solís that “the growth of black market practices is undermining the country’s job generation as well as tax revenues.”

Chamber data indicate that black market trade currently accounts for up to 22 percent of total sales of goods in the country. For example, they said tax dodging for sales of contraband cigarettes and liquor could reach some ₡35 billion annually ($66 million).

Last year, Fiscal Control Police confiscated more than 21 million cigarettes, 123,072 bottles of beer and 36,464 bottles of whiskey.

Entrepreneurs also called on the president to improve tax collection. According to the CCCR, 90 percent of the country’s tax collection currently comes from some 1,000 companies and self-employed professionals.

“We need an approach that goes beyond a vision that only contemplates punishment; we need to improve controls,” Llobet said.

President Solís pledged to address these issues in executive branch agencies and added that he will pay close attention to current legislation and legal procedures for registering goods, pharmaceutical and agrochemicals products, as well as excessive bureaucracy that promotes increased smuggling.

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