October 22nd, 2012 (InsideCostaRica.com) – The Treasury Ministry, known as “Hacienda”, bills, collects and threatens those who do not pay their taxes.
The same Ministry, however, seems to have fallen quite behind in its own “Caja” payments, which it owes on behalf of its employees.
Hacienda now owes the Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS, also known as the “Caja”) close to 883 million colons, or almost $1.8 million dollars, in delinquent payments.
Hacienda is now so far behind that if it does not pay up, it will be subject to charges of illegal withholding.
In Costa Rica, all employers must pay the “Caja” on behalf of their employees. The employer usually deducts the employees’ contribution (typically 9%) from their paychecks. Employers must then add their own share of the contribution to this, usually around 26% of the employee’s salary. The employer is supposed to then pay this contribution to the “Caja” or Social Security System.
If the employer does not pay at least the money that was withheld from each worker’s salary, it will be subject to charges of illegal withholding, which is a criminal offense punishable by jail.
When contacted last week, The Ministry of Hacienda sent an email stating that the collections director was out of the office.
Hacienda is not the only entity with large debts to the “Caja.” The PUSC (Social-Christian Political Party) has not shown any interest in paying their Caja debt either, which is about $260,000 dollars. The “Caja” has already sent a court ordered collection notice to the political party. Rafael Angel Calderon, a representative of PUSC, however, said the debt had already been paid.