Leaders of the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) sent President Luis Guillermo Solís a letter asking him to block a Finance Ministry decree ordering tourism businesses to collect sales tax on several tourism activities that were previously exempt.
They also want the president to reverse a clause in the decree stating those businesses must retroactively pay taxes from several years ago.
The request also was sent to Finance Minister Helio Fallas, as some business owners have been receiving official notifications from the Tax Administration stating that Sept. 30 is the deadline to pay back taxes for the last four years.
CANATUR President Pablo Abarca said the Finance Ministry’s measure could severely harm the tourism sector and lead to business closures, layoffs, loss of competitiveness and a decrease in investment.
The chamber’s president cited as an example that the collection of back taxes for a group of 10 businesses in the northern region totals ₡1 billion ($1.8 million).
Abarca said the group hoped to receive an official response from the Solís administration by Sept. 2.
“We are asking the President for his support in stopping the collection of back taxes, a measure we believe is disproportionate, unfair, confiscatory and immeasurably aggressive,” states a letter signed by employers of tourism businesses, regional tourism chamber leaders, and some lawmakers.
Solís earlier this month signed a decree eliminating the tax on national park entrance fees, but it still applies for all recreational activities that take place within the parks, such as rafting, diving, surfing, ziplining, hiking and others.