Costa Rica, a country in Central America, is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. It became an independent and sovereign Republic in 1821. Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces, with San José as its capital. The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, and the currency is the colón (CRC).
Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector, Costa Rica has expanded its economy to include strong technology and tourism industries. The standard of living is relatively high, and landownership is widespread. Prior to the global economic downturn, Costa Rica enjoyed stable economic growth. While the traditional agricultural exports of bananas, coffee, sugar, and beef are still the backbone of commodity export trade, a variety of industrial and specialised agricultural products have broadened export trade in recent years. High value-added goods and services, including microchips, have further bolstered exports. Tourism continues to bring in foreign currency, as Costa Rica's impressive biodiversity makes it a key destination for ecotourism. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and relatively high education levels, as well as the fiscal incentives offered in the free-trade zones.
Over the last 25 years, Costa Rica has experienced sustained economic growth as a result of an externally oriented growth strategy based on openness to foreign investment and gradual trade liberalisation.
Costa Rica has also been considered a benchmark worldwide in terms of environmental policies and achievements, as well as in the conservation of forests and biodiversity.
Currently, Costa Rica has one of the lowest poverty rates in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Census, although there has not been a reduction in the percentage of poor households in Costa Rica, the variation does not represent a significant change (it went from 20.5% to 20% between 2016 and 2017, and to 21.10% in 2018), and the level of extreme poverty has not increased (6.3%).
Costa Rica is also characterised by its high indicators of human development, which place it in a ranking of prevalence with respect to the other countries of the region. Under the model of a social state, our country provides the population with different services, such as free education at all levels, security, and a universal health system.
The per capita income in Costa Rica for the year 2000 was 3,808.36 United States dollars (USD) and has grown to 11,630.67 in 2017, showing an overall increase over the other countries of the region, besides Panama, which shows similar stats.
Although the country had one of the highest average real growth rates in Latin America between 2010 and 2016 (4% versus 2.5% regional average), growth has weakened in recent years.
The main challenges facing the country at present are the fiscal deficit and the reduction of poverty. Due to this situation, as well as the effects of COVID-19, the country has begun negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to find some economic assistance.
Recently, the country carried out a fiscal reform of relevance that establishes a tax on added value and capital gains, and creates a fiscal rule that would limit the growth of the current government expenditure, among others. The country also established measures to rationalise the expenses charged to the public treasury and for the evaluation and monitoring of public policies. This tax reform is intended to obtain fresh revenues that will reduce the fiscal deficit in the short or medium term.
PwC InterAmericas is a regional entity comprised of seven firms: PwC Guatemala, PwC El Salvador, PwC Honduras, PwC Nicaragua, PwC Costa Rica, PwC Panama, and PwC Dominican Republic. Together, we have over 1,000 professionals ready to provide our clients with audit, tax, legal, and consulting services. InterAmericas firms are backed by over 50 years of experience rendering a high standard of professional services to the private sector, public sector, and non-profits. PwC Costa Rica supports clients with the local knowledge and skills of its people and with access to a broad range of other professionals across the PwC global network of firms.
|Corporate income tax (CIT) rates|
|Headline CIT rate (%)||
|Corporate income tax (CIT) due dates|
|CIT return due date||
It varies according to fiscal year end, but it should be on 15 March.
|CIT final payment due date||
|CIT estimated payment due dates||
It should be taken into account that the date of payment for instalments for the fiscal period 2020 may vary considering the recent reform in the law, which changed the fiscal year from 1 October to 30 September to match the calendar year.
|Personal income tax (PIT) rates|
|Headline PIT rate (%)||
|Personal income tax (PIT) due dates|
|PIT return due date||
There is no PIT return for employees. For independent professionals or self-employed individuals, regular CIT applies with specific tax rates.
|PIT final payment due date||
Since there is no PIT return requirement for employees, there is no deadline for the individual; however, the company shall comply with the tax obligation within the following 15 days after the end of the month. For independent professionals, regular CIT applies with the same due date of 15 March.
|PIT estimated payment due dates||
Employees are not required to pay installments. Employers on behalf of employees pay this tax on a monthly basis.
For self-employed individuals, the requirement is quarterly payments.
|Value-added tax (VAT) rates|
|Standard VAT rate (%)||
|Withholding tax (WHT) rates|
|WHT rates (%) (Dividends/Interest/Royalties)||
Resident: 15 / NA / NA;
Non-resident: 15 / 5.5 or 15 / 25
|Capital gains tax (CGT) rates|
|Headline corporate capital gains tax rate (%)||
15 (2.25 under certain conditions)
|Headline individual capital gains tax rate (%)||
15 (2.25 under certain conditions)
|Net wealth/worth tax rates|
|Headline net wealth/worth tax rate (%)||
Costa Rica does not have a net wealth/worth tax.
|Inheritance and gift tax rates|
|Headline inheritance tax rate (%)||
Costa Rica does not have an inheritance tax.
|Headline gift tax rate (%)||
Costa Rica does not have a gift tax.