Shareholders and Access to Information

In Costa Rica, the Constitutional Chamber ruled in favor of the Observatorio Ciudadano de Transparencia Fiscal, an institution that filed an appeal to obtain information on how many individuals appear as owners of shares.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

After the Observatory requested to the Ministry of Finance statistical information that can be obtained from the Registry of Shareholders and Beneficial Owners (RABF), the authorities refused.

In response to the request, Elian Villegas, Minister of Finance, indicated in an official letter dated February 18, 2021 that the platform that stores the information is not designed to generate the statistics required by the Observatory and that the requested data is confidential.

Crhoy.com states that the information requested to the Treasury Department consisted in establishing "... how many individuals appear as owners of shares without any repetition, how many repeat as partners of these companies only 2 times, from 3 to 5 times, from 6 to 10 times, from 11 to 20 times, from 21 to 50 times, from 51 to 100 times, from 101 to 200 times, from 201 to 300 times, from 301 to 400 times and more than 500 times."

The information also had to be broken down into nationals and foreigners, and also the number of individuals appearing as beneficial owners with different levels of shareholding.

After the Ministry denied the information, the Observatory filed a legal recourse that was resolved in its favor. According to the ruling of the Constitutional Chamber, the tax authorities will have a term of 8 months to implement the necessary IT and technological measures to extract the required statistical information.

Carlos Vargas, General Director of Taxation said that "... 'currently the resources and efforts are focused, as a priority, on enabling the declaration of the missing groups of obligated parties, since the declarations of more than 293 thousand legal entities must be captured, a number that in turn is multiplied by an inestimable number of partners in each one of them. Therefore, the generation of statistics would be feasible only through specific functionalities that do not exist'."

For the magistrates who resolved this legal appeal, the information requested is not sensitive or restricted access data, but statistical data on the basis of records that are contained in official systems.



More on this topic

Shareholder Registry: New Deadline in Costa Rica

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Initially the ordinary period to declare the beneficial owners of the companies was due on April 30, but the authorities decided to extend the deadline to May 31.

This declaration was to be submitted during the month of April; according to resolution N°DGT-ICD-R-06-2020, however, due to the state of emergency facing the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these institutions agreed to extend the deadline, in order to guarantee the fulfillment of this obligation and facilitate voluntary compliance, informed the Ministry of Finance.

Shareholders Registry: Projecting Backlogs in Costa Rica

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Since September 1, the process of registration of approximately 370,000 legal persons began. They will have the obligation to comply with the "Registry of Transparency and Final Beneficiaries," and the legal documents ending in 0 and 1 should have done so first.

Shareholder Registration Postponed

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Because of doubts that have arisen in the business sector, in Costa Rica it was reported that the start of shareholder registration was postponed six months and will enter into force on September 1 of this year.

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Costa Rica: Objections to Disclosure of Shareholder Register

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A bill being promoted by the government to fight tax evasion involves the creation of a centralized register of shareholders with information on the final beneficiaries of companies.

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