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Situated in the geographic centre of the Americas, Costa
Rica shares borders with Nicaragua to the Northwest and
Panama to the Southeast, and is bordered on the South by the
Pacific Ocean and on the North by the Caribbean Sea. It is
small in area (51,000 sq km), but nevertheless it is host to
an enormous biodiversity. It was visited by Christopher
Columbus in 1502, who named the area Costa Rica (the rich
The population of Costa Rica is approximately 4.2
Million, more than one million living in the Central Valley.
94% of the people in Costa Rica are of either European
(mostly Spanish) ancestry or are of Mestizo (mixed European
and indigenous) ancestry.
Costa Rica 's democracy and social policies have the 1949
constitution as their cornerstone. This document guarantees
Costa Ricans freedom of expression and mobility, and upholds
the sanctity of human life and private property. Costa Rica
's democratic national government is made up of three
separate branches: legislative, executive and judicial.
Executive Branch: Presidential elections take place every four years and the
president is elected by popular vote. No president can serve in the presidency
for more than four years incumbent presidents and ex-presidents cannot be voted
into office. The president appoints 2 vice-presidents and 20 cabinet members.
The president must be elected with at least 40 percent of the popular vote or a
runoff election is held.
Legislative Branch: Costa Rica has a unicameral legislative assembly with 57
seats. Representatives are elected by popular vote. The legislature has six
permanent commissions, which oversee agriculture and natural resources, economic
affairs, government and administration, budgeting and taxation, judicial affairs
and social affairs. The legislative assembly can override presidential decisions
by two-thirds majority vote and is responsible for the declaration of war and
selection of Supreme Court Judges. Legislators can be re-elected, but only after
spending one term out of office.
Judicial Branch: The judicial branch is responsible for administering justice
in Costa Rica, and is made up of the Supreme Court, appellate courts and trial
courts. There are 22 magistrates, selected by the legislative assembly every
eight years. They can be re elected.
The economy has traditionally been based on agricultural
commodities such as coffee, cacao, bananas, sugar and beef.
In the recent years successful efforts have been made to
introduce new exports, services and tourism. Costa Rica is a
member of the World Trade Organization. It has developed
incentives for companies operating under the Free Trade Zone
Regulations and other export programs.
Spanish is the official and spoken language. English is
also spoken widely in urban areas and is often used in
commerce and international trade.
Costa Rican Colon (¢)
Based on French Civil Law.
Commercial Code, Law No. 3284, passed on September 19,
1964, and its subsequent amendments.
Generally, stock corporations are incorporated as
"Sociedades Anónimas" under the Commercial Code, articles
By presentation of the proposed corporation's signed
Articles of Incorporation before a Notary Public who creates
a Public Deed for registration at the Public Registry.
Private banking, public finance, investment funds,
collective investment schemes, and pension funds are
allowed, but the Government must authorize operations.
Insurance and the distribution of petrol, gasoline, and
diesel are prohibited as they are state owned monopolies.
There are also restrictions placed on the provision of
utility services such as telecoms and power. Trustee
services are permitted.
Yes, must be maintained in Costa Rica at the address of
the Registered Agent.
3-4 weeks, subject to name approval.
A name that is similar to or identical to an existing
company. Names of well-known companies incorporated
elsewhere or a name that implies government patronage.
Names may be expressed in any language using the Latin alphabet. The
Registrar requires a Spanish translation.
Bank, savings, assurance, reinsurance, fund management, investment fund, or
their foreign language equivalents. "Trust" or "Trustee" is permitted.
"Sociedad Anónima" or the abbreviation "SA."
The standard authorised share capital is Colones 10,000
divided in to 100 common voting shares of Colones 100 each
however 25% of the issued capital must be paid up on
incorporation. The capital may be expressed in any
convertible currency. The minimum issued capital is one
share at par value.
Preferred shares and registered (nominal) shares.
No corporation tax is levied on non-Costa Rican sourced
The Company must file a tax return annually irrespective of whether it is
liable for pay tax on in its income.
Only Tax Information with the USA. The authorities have begun negotiations with several countries to avoid the double taxation of income. By 2009 Double Taxation Agreements had been signed but not yet ratified with Spain, Germany and Romania. Negotiations are in progress with Israel, South Korea, Switzerland and Canada.
Germany, France, Romania, Chile, Great Britain and Switzerland.
Annual Return US$ 51 is payable.
Whilst there is no requirement to file audited accounts
with the authorities, a company is required to keep
financial records, which reflect the financial position of a
Costa Rican companies are required to appoint a minimum
of three officers (president, secretary and treasurer) who
may also be the directors, and may or may not have Costa
Rican citizenship. Additionally one statutory comptroller
(any natural person) is required. Meeting can take place
anywhere in the world provided that provision is made for
this in the Articles.
The minimum initial number of shareholders (subscribers)
at the time of incorporation is two; thereafter a single
shareholder is permitted which may be an individual or body
Must take place annually and can be held anywhere in the world provided that
provision is made for this in the Articles.
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