Costa Rica: Exemptions for electric vehicles postponed

Incentives to buy cars that use environmentally friendly fuels will have to wait at least another two months. Measures that would exempt such cars from taxes are moving forward, but very slowly, as is the tightening of restrictions allowing old foreign cars into the country.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Both are possible solutions for lowering pollution. However, the decree is still passing through the Ministry of Environment and Energy, and is likely to remain there for another two months.

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Costa Rica offers tax breaks for energy-efficient cars

April 2008

The Costa Rican government plans to reduce the taxes paid by energy-efficient and low-emission cars. This tax break will cover hybrids, electrics, and those that are powered by biofuels such as ethanol. Automobiles in Costa Rica currently pay between 35% to 53% worth of consumption tax. The tax rate varies based on the car type, engine size and model.

The draft of the executive decree is now being reviewed by the Ministry of Energy and the Environment (MINAE), Costa Rica’s EPA, and will then be reviewed by the Ministerio de Hacienda - similar to the IRS. Julio Matamoros, the MINAE vice minister informed La Nación that the tax reduction will apply to new and used cars and some models may become totally tax free.

More Hybrid Cars in Costa Rica

February 2015

The tax exemption enjoyed by these vehicles is one of the factors driving their sales in the country, where three agencies are now marketing them and two are preparing their market entry.

Dealerships that have ventured into selling hybrid vehicles in recent years say the rise in sales is mainly due to these types of cars being exempt from vehicle restrictions in force in the country and because they only pay 10% of the selective consumption tax instead of 30% paid by conventional vehicles.

Costa Rica Reduces Hybrid Vehicle Tax

July 2013

The selective consumption tax charged on hybrid cars has dropped from 15% to 10%.

Among the reasons explaining the low penetration of hybrid vehicles in the Costa Rican market is the amount of taxes that are charged.

"New hybrid-electric vehicles under tariff headings 8703 and 8704, with cylinders not exceeding 2,000 cubic centimeters, will be able to benefit from a 20% reduction in the selective consumption tax," states the new provision.

Costa Rica: Selective Tax on Used Vehicles

August 2013

Cars between 0-6 years old will incur a 30% selective excise tax with a tax burden of 53%, and those over 6 years old will incur a tax of 48% and have a tax burden of 73%.

From a press release from the Ministry of Finance in Costa Rica:

The Ministry of Finance reported today that after reviewing the effects of the update of the value of the vehicles that has been in force since December 2012, the implementation of the new Law on Transit, and the small amount of economic activity of the vehicle import sector this year, the Unit has determined an adjustment to the tax rates applicable on selective consumption, in order to give coherence to the tax system between the new values ​​and the tax rate.

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