Critical aspects of transparency registration statements and beneficial ownership of trusts in Costa Rica

By: Nikole Sánchez 

As it is known, the trustees of private trusts, national or foreign, that carry out activities within the territory, will have to file the ordinary declarations of the Transparency and Beneficial Ownership Registry in the month of April, the same as the other obligated parties, except when they are trusts with a recently assigned legal title, for which the obligated party will have a term of twenty days to file the declaration. Likewise, they must file an extraordinary declaration when there is a change in the parties and/or data provided, for which they will have a term of fifteen days.

Ordinary returns filed in the period 2021 and for which the trustees require to update information must be filed only once in April 2022 and not within the fifteen-day term as stipulated in the joint resolution NDGT-ICD-R-012-2021, since the system is not yet enabled to perform data updates.

For the filing of ordinary tax returns for the first time, it is important to take into consideration the information required to comply with this obligation.

A critical aspect of these declarations is that the trustee has to make the request for the assignment of the legal identification number before the National Registry, for which reason it must be foreseen that this request may take a maximum of ten working days, counted from the day after the receipt of the request, once the legal identification number has been assigned, the trustee must go before a Notary Public to enter the Central Directo platform and carry out the registration of the Trust and the authorization of the trustee or whoever he/she may designate. In the registration and declaration of the trust, the following data must be indicated:

    • Name of the trust, of the parties and their respective identity documents.
    • Country of incorporation, date of incorporation and final date, if any.
    • Object of the trust
    • Currency and amount
    • Economic activity
    • Type of trust

Trusts in which the termination date is not indicated and once its purpose has concluded due to any of the grounds for termination regulated in article 659 of the Code of Commerce, the trustee must file a sworn statement in the Central Directo platform indicating the termination of the trust, otherwise the obligation to file the ordinary statement remains.

In the event that one of the parties to the trust is a non-profit organization, the trustee must keep the individualized data of each of the final beneficiaries and deliver them when requested by the competent authorities.

Additionally, a drawback of the system is that there is not a 100% connection between the database of trusts with the database of legal persons already declared, so when a legal person is included as a party, a literal certification or its equivalent issued by the corresponding registry and the Partners Registry book must be at hand, because the data of the company must be included, as well as those of its partners and the date since it has been a partner, since the platform always requests to declare up to natural person. For this reason, the trustee must take into account that in addition to having the information of the trust, it must have the information of the legal entities and partners.

In case of non-compliance with this declaration the trustee would be exposed to a proportional pecuniary penalty of two percent of the gross income of the person or legal structure, in the profit tax period, prior to that in which the infraction occurred, with a minimum of three base salaries and a maximum of one hundred base salaries.