BLP partner Luis Chacón, tax law expert, participated as a speaker at the Tax Symposium organized by the College of Private Accountants on November 6, 2019, in which he discussed the deductibility of expenses, tax havens and hybrid asymmetries in light of the Tax Reform in Costa Rica.

For an expense to be deductible from gross income, it must mainly meet three requirements:

  1. Causality: an expense has to be necessary in order to generate income.
  2. Withholding: proof that withholding has been met in cases where the law requires it.
  3. Support – Vouchers: the expense is supported by documentation and vouchers authorized by the Tax Administration.

With the Law of Strengthening of Public Finances – better known as Fiscal Reform, a couple of components that could make an expense non-deductible were added to Article 9 of the Income Tax Law. First, the expenses paid for services to persons domiciled in non-cooperating countries or tax havens would not be deductible. In this sense, the reform defines tax havens as jurisdictions with an income tax rate that is 40% lower than the tax rate in Costa Rica, and countries with which Costa Rica does not have a double treaty imposition or exchange of information.

Secondly, the concept of hybrid asymmetries was introduced providing that expenses paid to a related company abroad would not be deductible when these expenses do not generate a taxable income or else generate exempt income for said related party leading to a status of double non-taxation.