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!)


WHERE CAN I PAY THE $7?? 
Search this document for
"
WHERE TO PAY THE $5+$2 = $7 Costa Rica
LAND EXIT TAX??"


Don't have one of the sources listed below to pay this $7 Land Exit Tax near you?When I did my last land crossing visa run April 15 - the atm machine was NOT functioning and since then MANY people have said it wasn't functioning when they went (and even if it were - there'd probably be a LONG LINE since it was just one!)
BUT - last I heard, the
ADUANA (Customs) 

had opened a NEW OFFICE and you could go to their office to pay for it AT the border (my torn meniscus knee was acting up a lot and I was schelleping luggage so I couldn't walk over just to check for y'all - hence no pictures)


WHERE IS THE NEW ADUANA OFFICE?:
What was described to me was - as you're entering a Peñas Blancas - JUST before the border is a split - going straight•forward leads you towards Nicaragua -
veering to the Left is a one-way street Exiting Costa Rica (so don't go up that way!)
To the left of that are LOTS of PARKED BUSES
Go into that bus lot (I'm not talking about TicaBus or TransNica) and walk all the way back and I HEAR it's a building on your LEFT.
I have not verified if it's the same $7 or if they're charging an extra fee for this convenience.
(has anyone experienced this yet and can verify it??)


WHEN I WENT TO THE MIGRACION WINDOW - THEY DID NOT ASK ME FOR MY RECEIPT - WHY?
Some people have shared that the immigration officer didn't ask to see /for their receipt.
I was told (and shown) that when they scan your passport - it shows up in their system (which is how it shows up if you have an airline ticket as proof you're leaving Costa Rica within 90 days so sometimes


ONCE I PAY THE $7 LAND EXIT TAX - HOW LONG IS IT GOOD FOR?
I was told from the Migracion officer that it was ONLY good for

7 DAYS
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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])
(I've deleted all the stop and go - and stop and go around this issue)




@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@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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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 into Nicaragua or Panama)
AND
you MUST PRE-PAY it in ADVANCE
because at this point they do NOT have the ability to accept these payments IN Migracion's office!!

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'm not positive if they have installed these ATM's yet other than at
Peñas Blancas)


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

*Vicki - Why the "+" after the $7??
Well, it looks like MANY of the businesses listed below are charging a Service•Convenience Fee to process this for you!  What I'm seeing is anywhere from $2-$5 so - be prepared!
We now have more options till they get the atm up at the border (which to ME - waiting to get it at the border seems like it will be a NIGHTMARE wait - that is IF the ATM is functioning!!):

#1 (depending on how you're getting there)
***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 but you can go onto their website and have a Live Chat with someone Monday-Friday from 7am-7pm and Saturday 8am-4pm]).  SERVICE CHARGE - +$2
• Central Line - 2-248-9929
• NicaExpress - ???.
Panama (TicaBus).
This can ONLY be done at the MAIN TERMINALS


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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