Property owners who live out of the country often ask if they can make property tax payments online. The short answer is yes; you can make your property tax payments online. But, as you probably expected, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
The reason is, that you need to have an account at Banco de Costa Rica (BCR), so you can make an online deposit from your account into the municipal bank account.
If your property is owned in a corporation, you will also have to pay corporation tax. You can pay this tax, just like your property tax payments online, also to the BCR.
How much property tax and when?
Property tax rate is 0.25% over the value registered in the city where the property is located.
Property tax and municipal tax have to be paid every quarter, on or before March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, and December 31st.
You can request the annual amount with your municipality before the end of January and pay for the whole year.
Do you own your property through a corporation? Have you paid your mandatory property tax and corporation tax every year? Did you get your mandatory digital signature yet? Did you register the shareholders with the government? If your answer is NO and you don’t know how to resolve this, click on the banner below. We have the solution, at a very affordable cost.
Where to pay?
1. You can pay the property tax in person at the cashier of the municipality in person. So if you know someone who lives in the same city, you can wire the money to that person, who can make the payments by going to the municipality.
2. Some municipalities are so progressive that you can pay with your credit card. For example, the Osa Municipality has a first world online payment system, where you can consult taxes due and pay. Check first online if you own property in such a progressive municipality.
3. Another option is to make the property tax payments online if you have a Banco de Costa Rica account.
For a long time, our office used to make the property tax payments online for our clients. Then, after a while, other property owners started asking if we could give them the service.
To keep the wire cost down, we started using Western Union to get the funds to us, but after a while, Western Union suggested we were laundering money and wanted to know exactly where all those funds went to. Not worth the hassle. Then, we had the same experience with the banks where we have our accounts. End of story…
So where should you start?
It all starts when you purchase a property in Costa Rica. Before closing, ask your lawyer or your real estate broker to assist in setting up a bank account with the Banco de Costa Rica. This will make it simple to make property tax payments online.
It is now possible to open a simplified bank account, for which you don’t need to be a resident. To be able to open this account, you need to be in Costa Rica.
In case you purchase a vacation rental, you will need a property manager anyway, who can take care of your property tax payments online. But, we’ll make it easy for you: just click on the banner below and find out about the perfect solution to your property tax payments problems and others.
You need to call the municipality where you own the property, so they can tell you how much property tax you owe. You will need to either give them the property number – folio real or the property owner’s name or ID number (or corporation’s).
If you make the property tax payments in person at the municipal cashier, you will get a receipt.
When you make the property tax payments online, you don’t get a receipt from the municipality, only a copy of the transfer. Keep those receipts as proof.
Do you own already a property in Costa Rica and you don’t live here? Then you have several options:
1. Book a vacation to Costa Rica to check on your property and open a simplified bank account at Banco de Costa Rica. Then go to the municipality where the property is located and make the payments due in person. Then, also request a certification that the property tax is paid up to date at that moment. From then on, you can make the property tax payments online.
2. Find someone you know and trust in Costa Rica, who can make those payments for you as a favor.
3. Ask your lawyer, real estate agent, or accountant in Costa Rica to make those payments for you at a charge.
4. Do you own a corporation in Costa Rica? Then click on the banner below to view the services you will need, offered at very affordable prices.
Wire from abroad
You can try to wire the property tax owed from abroad. The problem is that you will not receive a confirmation that the funds are received. In my personal opinion, this would be a waste of funds, but feel free to try it. There are a few other ways to wire money to Costa Rica. We’d love to receive your feedback on this in the comment section below.
We do appreciate your real estate referrals. If/when you purchase property in Costa Rica, we’d like to assist. We are the real estate experts, from coast to coast. Contact us now.