Sunday, December 1, 2013

UPDATED - April 7 - FINALLY - IT'S 101% A GO!! The $7 LAND EXIT TAX IS in effect OFFICIALLY!! (was $5 - NOW $7!!!!) for people EXITING Costa Rica by LAND (going into Nicaragua or Panama) PLUS you MUST PRE-PAY it in advance!!!!!!!!!!!

(the LONE atm machine I saw at the Costa Rican border in Peñas Blancas on March 11, 2014.  Can you IMAGINE the lines for this ONE machine for people to service ALL the people that have not PRE-paid for Costa Rica's $7 Land Exit Tax!!   Read what I write about the machine and where to PRE-Pay for this tax below!)
(I'll be crossing again this next week so I'll see if they finally put more atm's out!)


APRIL 7, 2014
FINALLY - IT'S 101% A GO!! 
Costa Rica's $7 Land Exit Tax IS in effect OFFICIALLY!!
(though all of the bus companies HAVE been collecting it for awhile [including when I traveled March 11])


UPDATED AS OF MARCH 28
(below)
I called TransNica and TicaBus and a friend called one of the travel agencies listed below and were told the SAME info I EXPERIENCED FIRST HAND on March 11.


UPDATE:  MARCH 11, 2014
MY EXPERIENCE FIRST HAND
I PERSONALLY did the Costa Rica (Peñas Blancas) - Nicaragua (Frontiera) crossing on Tuesday March 11.  I had seen it reported in a few places that the latest RE-Start date was March 3 was "Suspended" AND, I had seen where other people WERE asked for the proof . . . . SO . . ..


So I went to buy my bus ticket at TransNica.com
(the "Ejecutivo"•Executive bus that leaves at noon and is just around $13 more and is FASTER, has lunch included, water, coffee and/or soda and LOT less crowded and gets to the border at a GREAT time with hardly anyone there so even the crossing is LOTS FASTER!!  WELL worth the few $s more!)
My Buddy at TransNica (Alejandro - keep that name if you need someone that speaks some English) who said that they were instructed that we
HAD TO PAY the $7 LAND EXIT TAX.

So I paid it (read where all you can pre-pay for it below).

When I got to the window at Migracion•Immigrations departing Costa Rica in Peñas Blancas - I just handed the guy my passport and Migracion form (I did NOT give him my receipt from the pre-payment of the Land Exit Tax or say anything to him because I wanted to see what HE'D do/say).
He said NOTHING. 

So finally I asked him why didn't he ask for my proof I'd pre-paid for the Exit Tax?

He said something about when he scanned my passport it shows up that I HAD  PRE-paid it (they ask for your passport when you pre-pay the tax).
I asked him what was the status of the new law as I had heard it was suspended AGAIN.

He said that people are SUPPOSED to have PRE-paid it -
BUT
if one had not - they were NOT forcing them to go back to Liberia (as some had reported happening back in December before the atm was in place [which sounds like it was not working yet]) it till the LATEST DATE
Monday March 17, 2014*

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*AS OF MARCH 28 
It's sounding like ALL info reported above is THE SAME
as people yesterday that went to the border without having paid it were NOT demanded to get it.
And ALL my sources (TransNica, TicaBus, one of the official travel agencies list below) said it
IS "obligatory"
BUT
it sounds like the border STILL does NOT have their act together and everything in place!

Keeping that in mind - that COULD CHANGE TOMORROW (or next year) so IF it were ME, I'd INVEST the $7 to have piece of mind because they day the border stuff is ALL in place - it WILL BE A NIGHTMARE - ESPECIALLY with JUST 1 atm machine there!! (now HOPEFULLY they'll bring more in as without more - the lines WILL be 1+++ hours long JUST for paying the $7 - PLUS - what will they do WHEN [NOT "if"] the machine breaks down and/or there's a power failure???)
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DID YOU ALREADY PAY THE TAX AND NOT USE IT?
I also asked him how long that pre-paid for tickets were good for and he said
7 DAYS

I asked - "What about all those people that did the right thing by pre-paying it - only to find out they did NOT need it since once again the law was on hold?"
and from what I understood from him (as did 2 other people on the bus with me when I asked for their interpretation of what went down) - it sounded like you just loose your $$ (only in Costa Rica [IF this is accurate as we ALL know that each of us may easily have a TOTALLY DIFFERENT experience!!]).

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@Now - this IS Costa Rica we're talking about and EVERYONE seems to have a different experience - so . . . . .

Now - remember below when just a few days BEFORE I FINALLY got a response back from the Hacienda (the tax man who is responsible for this law/tax) saying the $7 Land Exit Tax WAS in place . . . . 

Has ANYONE heard what the delay is with this law and how one day it's going into effect that Monday and then no one official says anything yeah or neigh on it till people just ASSUME it's not in effect. 
Is this ALL over ONE FRICKING atm machine?????????????

Ahhh - life in CR!!!!



I'll report here SOON what is happening as of MARCH 17!!



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March 7, 2014
I JUST got the response below back from the Ministerio de Hacienda (the tax man who this tax is for)


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March 4, 2014
I just hung up with a friend that is a manager at TransNica and he said that
Costa Ricas
$7 Land Exit Border Tax
at Nicaragua and Panama
IS FINALLY IN EFFECT as of 
Monday - March 3, 2014!!!!!!!  

He was not positive on what the situation at the border is with the atm machines yet, but he'll call the manager at the border tomorrow and I'll report back.  

I KNOW for SURE you can purchase your tickets at the main bus DEPOTS (San Jose and Managua) for $7. 

I'm not sure about the banks but SOME people were initially reporting having to pay additional fees for doing it at the bank - ahhh Costa Rica.

STOP THE PRESSES!!  
Of course EVERYTHING we were told originally about the new $5 Land Exit Tax has CHANGED!!

So NOW (without ANY official notice I can find [hell - there's not even anything on the Hacienda/tax man's website about this]) 

INSTEAD of it being a new $5 LAND EXIT TAX (for those exiting Costa Rica by land to Nicaragua or Panama)
it's $5

+ PLUS 
an ADDITIONAL 
$2 that Aduana•Customs gets!!!
Making what you now pay to exit Costa Rica 
$7
This tax effects people EXITING Costa Rica by LAND

(going to Nicaragua or Panama)
AND
you MUST PRE-PAY it in ADVANCE
because at this point they don't have the ability to accept these payments at the borders!!

Bancrédito will install ATMs at the Nicaragua border crossing at Peñas Blancas, Paso Canoas, Sixaola and Sabalito abutting Panama and on the Nicaragua border

I'll know tomorrow what's actually going on at the border with the machines!!!


(this tax WAS SUPPOSED to go into effect December 3, 2013, in time for the hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans that make the annual 2 week pilgrimage for the Christmas holidays [where you often get to stand 3-6 HOURS in the blazing heat to clear Migracion•Immigrations in both Costa Rica and Nicaragua)

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WHERE TO PAY THE $5+$2 = $7 LAND EXIT TAX??

We now have more options till they get the atm's up at the border (which to ME - waiting to get it at the border seems like it will be a NIGHTMARE wait!!):

BUSES taking you to Nicaragua and Panama
If you're taking a bus - the EASIEST•most logical to me would be FROM the BUS COMPANIES that provide transportation over the borders to Nicaragua
(CR #s) - TransNica - 2-223-4123 • TicaBus - 2-221-0006 • 2-291-1193 [good luck getting them to answer] • Central Line - 2-248-9929 • NicaExpress - ???. Panama (TicaBus).

Banco Crédito Agrícola 
BanCrédito branch - Liberia (the closest one to the border)  -  2-666-0611
BanCrédito call center with English-speaking agents  -  2-550-5060

BRANCHES ONLY in:
Curridabat  •  Desamparados  •  Escazu  •  Guadalupe  •  Pavas (Aeropuerto Tobias Bolanos)  •  Perez Zeledon  •  San Jose (Parque Central)  •  Santa Ana  •  Uruca  •  Zapote

Click here for a list of their addresses:
(make sure you put the www. first as it's ANOTHER one of those Costa Rica websites that was set up IMPROPERLY [I swear they must all have gone to the same school as this problem is prevalent heavily throughout the government sites so if you don't put the www. you get that it's a bad address)

Coopealianza
Bank branches
They seem to have lots more branches in more out of the way places
www.Coopealianza.fi.cr/index.php/inicio/oficinas
(again - make sure to put the www. first)

ALL Immigration•MIGRACION Administration facilities
MAIN OFFICE:  La Uruca.  
PLUS:  Heredia, Cartago, Curridabat, San Pedro, Correo Central, Zapote, Desamparados, Tibás, Guadalupe, Santa Ana, Escazu, Alajuela, Pavas, La Cruz, Cañas, Guatuso, Ciudad Quesada, Cóbano, Puerto Viejo en Talamanca, Guápiles and Ciudad Neilly
LIST OF OFFICES:
Migracion.go.cr/institucion/oficinas_servicios.html

SELECT TRAVEL AGENCIES
3 Monkeys Tour - Filadelfia, Guanacaste  -  2-667-4012
Cast Corp. -  Escazu  -  2-228-1470
CATOURS - Sabana Oeste  -  2-291-2161
Coopealianza - Ciudad Neily  -  2-783-5785
Coopealianza - La Cruz, Guanacaste  -  2-679-8310
Coopealianza - Liberia, Guanacaste  -  2-666-9284
Coopealianza - Sabalito  -  2-783-5829
Daily Tours - Plaza Mayor-Rohrmoser  -  2-291-8989
Excursiones Marvi - Hatillo  -  2-214-2828
ItaliaBella Travel  -  2-228-7010
Libería y Bazar María José - Sixaola  -  2-754-2204
New World Quality  -  2-256-5383
Papagayo - Liberia  -  2-667-0422
Servicios Turisticos Ecológicos - Heredia  -  2-262-3424
Servicos Rápidos de Viajes FAST - San José.
Suerte Tour Pura Vida  -  2-654-5293
Swiss Travel Agency - San José, Ciudad Colón and Guanacaste  -  2-282-4898
(they charge a $2 fee per person and you can either go into their location or transfer the money into their bank account)

TAM in Los Yoses
Viajes Colón Agencia de Viajes Cactus (Heredia)  -  2-261-7942
Viajes Colón Agencia de Viajes Colón  -  2-547-2525
Viajes Colón Agencia de Viajes Faytur - Grecia  -  2-494-7878
Viajes Colón Viajes Ejecutivos Mundiales in San José
Viajes Nacionales Isla Bonita - San José Downtown  -  2-257-0505

NOTE that MANY of the alternative ways to pay charge a Service Fee to give you this convenience to YOU.  That price is up to them.  I've seeing anywhere from $2-$5 PER TICKET)



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WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS?
The head of Hacienda•Tributación says the money will go toward improving the country’s land border crossings and the +$2 is to help pay off the 2 scanners at the border entrance (for the Aduana•Customs)


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**COMMENTARY
(well - much of what I share is some form of a commentary!)
It will be very interesting to see how this will play out since OFTEN "rules"•"laws" are SUPPOSED to happen in Costa Rica - on a certain day - and change just before or after - especially if systems aren't properly in place!!  ESPECIALLY since to GET things "in place" in Costa Rica - can take awhile!!!  My bet is it won't last a day before they put it on hold!  What do you think??

You might want to watch the Facebook pages for the
Hacienda (aka the Dirección General de Tributación) though so far there has been NO mention of ANY of it that I've found and even their website that mentioned it from a few days ago ONLY spoke of the $5.  Oui!!!




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Here are 2 more detailed articles on the topic of the new $5 Land Exit Tax from Costa Rica:



AMCostaRica.com  -  November 26, 2013


$5 land exit tax will go into effect Monday, Tributación says

The country's tax authority says that it will begin collecting a $5 land exit tax Monday.

The agency also said that no one at the border crossings has the power to accept such payments, so travelers must pay their tax beforehand.

The agency, the Dirección General de Tributación, said Tuesday it had entered into an agreement with Banco Crédito Agrícola to handle the money the same way that the bank handles the airport exit tax. Within two weeks, the bank is supposed to have automatic machines to collect the tax from credit and debit cards and give receipts at Paso Canoas, Río Sereno-Sabalito, Sixaola and Peñas Blancas. These are the major crossings.

The exit tax can be paid ahead of time at branches of Coopealianza as well as the Banco Crédito Agrícola, said the ministry. Tour companies, travel agencies and some transport companies also will be selling the exit tax proof.

    There will be a flood of Nicaraguans going to their country over Christmas, and the ministry is sure to rake in plenty of money. However, the agency said that anyone not having proof of payment of the tax will be denied exit.


Immigration agents are supposed to verify online the validity of any receipts showing the tax has been paid, said Tributación. Then there is supposed to be a system to prevent reuse of the payment slip. The tax can be paid in dollars or colons at the existing exchange rate. The money is supposed to be used to fix up the exit facilities.

Diplomats, truck drivers and bus drivers are exempt from the tax, said the agency.

The tax passed the legislature in July, but putting the levy into practice required the drafting of regulations.

Initially the tax was going to apply to cruise ship passengers arriving and leaving by boat. There also was talk of increasing the airport exit tax.



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