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July 15, 2022
2022-5671

Costa Rica’s Government publishes regulations to implement the Digital Nomads Law

  • Those interested in applying for the migratory and tax benefits contained in Law 10.008 must carefully review the requirements contained in the regulations.

  • The tax benefits include corporate income tax and import tax exemptions.

On 8 July 2022, Costa Rica’s Government published, in the Official Gazette, Executive Decree No. 43619-H-MGP-TUR, “Regulations to Law No. 10.008, Law to attract remote workers and international service providers,” which implements the Digital Nomads Law (Law No. 10.008).

Background

On 1 September 2021, the Government published, in the Official Gazette, Law No. 10.008, “Law to attract remote workers and international service providers” (so-called Digital Nomads Law).

The law establishes a framework for foreigners interested in working remotely from Costa Rica and promotes the reactivation of the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

For these purposes, the law grants tax benefits to taxpayers who meet certain conditions, including obtaining the specific migratory status for remote workers or service providers. The tax benefits include the following:

  • A full corporate income tax exemption. Under the law, the remote workers or service providers are not considered Costa Rican habitual residents for tax purposes, and the income they receive from abroad is not considered Costa Rican-source income. The benefits do not extend to other people in the remote worker’s or service provider’s family group. Other family group members who want to obtain the tax benefits must apply and comply with the requirements established in the law.

  • An exemption from all taxes on imports of basic personal computing, information technology, telecommunications or similar equipment necessary to carry out their work or their services. If the remote worker or service provider transfers these goods, even during the time the remote worker or service provider is a remote worker or service provider, the remote worker or service provider must pay the taxes for the goods that were previously exempt from tax. 

Such benefits are eliminated immediately after the General Directorate of Immigration cancels or revokes the remote worker’s or service provider’s beneficiary status.

New regulations

The regulations implement the provisions of Law No. 10.008, which established rules for foreigners who are authorized to enter and stay in the country under the migratory category of nonresident, subcategory of stay worker or remote service provider.

The regulations set out the immigration procedure remote workers or service providers must follow, as well as the procedure for obtaining the tax benefits under Law 10.008.

In addition to provisions on the corporate income tax exemption, the regulations establish what remote workers or service providers may bring into Costa Rica under the import tax exemption. Specifically, the regulations allow remote workers or service providers to enter Costa Rica with the following equipment without being subject to import tax, provided the equipment is necessary for the performance of their duties:

  • Personal computer

  • Mobile phone

  • Tablet

  • Camera

  • A recording device and its accessories

The equipment may be considered a part of the remote worker’s or service provider’s luggage. If they bring equipment into Costa Rica that is not listed above, the equipment will not be considered a part of the remote worker’s or service provider’s luggage, and the remote worker or service provider must use the Tax Authority’s virtual system, Exonet, to request the import tax exemption.

The equipment must be kept in the remote worker’s or service provider’s possession for the period in which they hold their immigration status. Once the immigration status expires, the remote worker or service provider may transfer the equipment to third parties who do not qualify for the tax benefits after paying the corresponding taxes. Otherwise, if they keep their equipment, they will leave with it as part of their luggage.

The regulations also contain provisions related to the payment of taxes when a remote worker’s or service provider’s immigration status is cancelled or revoked. 

The regulations entered into force as of their publication in the Official Gazette.

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For additional information with respect to this Alert, please contact the following:

Ernst & Young, S.A., San José, Costa Rica

Ernst & Young LLP (United States), Latin American Business Center, New York

Ernst & Young Abogados, Latin America Business Center, Madrid

Ernst & Young LLP (United Kingdom), Latin American Business Center, London

Ernst & Young Tax Co., Latin American Business Center, Japan & Asia Pacific

 
 

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