October 15th, 2012 – Municipalities on Costa Rica’s coasts will no longer have to ask the Dirección General de Tributación (Costa Rica’s central tax authority) to appraise a property in order to grant it a concession.
Now, the tax on maritime zone concessions will be defined by each city council, according to a new decree published in La Gaceta on Friday.
In order for this to be possible, the municipality must have a civil engineer, architect, agronomist, or topographer to determine the value of the land in the maritime-terrestrial area. If the municipality does not have one of these professionals on their payroll, they may ask another municipality to assist in the matter.
The local governments will be trained to use the same methodology that the Dirección General de Tributación uses.
“The advantage in this new norm is that the process will be expedited, which will allow more money to come into the municipalities,” said Juan Rafael Marin, president of IFAM (Promotion and Consulting Institution for Municipalities).
“There is an overload in the Taxation department, which affects Municipalities because they can not grant concessions, or because the appraisals expire (they are valid for 5 years), forcing the Municipalities to collect on old values,” he added.
The maritime-terrestrial zone is considered the first 200 meters from the point of high tide, and is divided in two parts: the first part are the 50 meters that are considered public, which can not be occupied under any title or concession. After this, the remaining 150 meters can be granted in concession for various activities, such as tourism and estate development.
The licensee’s or authorized “owners,” however, can not forbid the entrance to the public zone, nor can they sell the area that is under concession, as the land continues to belong to the State.
Costa Rica has about 1,466 kilometers of coastline, which have been under protection since 1828.