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Definitive Guide to Investing in Real Estate in Costa Rica

Investing in real estate in Costa Rica is an exciting opportunity, but success requires more than just acquiring and selling properties. For foreign investors, understanding tax complexities and having a solid business plan are essential to maximize benefits and avoid complications. In this guide, we will explore key tax strategies based on the fiscal perspective presented in the Tico Times newspaper article

1. Detailed Business Plan:

Before diving into the Costa Rican real estate market, having a detailed business plan is crucial. Two essential considerations include how to make the investment and the legal nature of the entity. These decisions will directly impact tax treatment and should be made with expert advice.

2. Origin of Funds and Tax Registration:

Registering the origin of funds used to acquire properties is a critical step. This process not only complies with legal requirements but also establishes vital traceability to prevent money laundering. Before starting the investment, ensure registration with the Tax Administration System of Costa Rica according to the activity you will undertake.

3. Transparent Accounting:

Regardless of the type of investment, from developing and selling lots to managing Air BnB properties, maintaining transparent accounting is fundamental. All preoperative costs and expenses must be recorded in accordance with Costa Rican tax standards, supported by invoices and other documents.

4. Taxes Applicable to Real Estate Developments:

Real estate investments are subject to the real estate transfer tax, applied to the higher value or registry price of acquired properties. Investors must be aware of partial payments of property tax to the Municipality where the properties are located. Additionally, the choice of business activities will determine exposure to corporate income tax, capital gains tax, or passive income tax.

5. Organized Record-Keeping and Preoperative Costs:

Starting the investment in an organized manner allows investors to record preoperative costs, using them as deductible expenses in the future or to capitalize the investment. How these aspects are handled will affect the taxable base according to the type of investment and applicable tax.

6. Strategic Tax Planning:

Given the variability in the recurrence of tax declarations and payments, strategic tax planning is essential. Investors must anticipate and carefully plan to comply with tax requirements, avoiding unpleasant surprises.

7. Professional Advice:

Before taking the plunge, seeking professional advice is highly recommended. Structuring the business from a commercial and tax perspective will identify the best opportunities and allow precise planning of investments, taxes, and expenses.

8. Business Success in Costa Rica:

The success of a business investment in Costa Rica lies in the precision of the corporate and operational structure. Ensuring optimal tax efficiency is key to making the most of the thriving Costa Rican real estate market.

Investing in real estate in Costa Rica is an exciting yet complex endeavor. By following these key tax strategies, investors can navigate tax complexities, minimize risks, and maximize returns on investments in this vibrant market. Turn the opportunity into success with careful planning and expert advice!


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