Import Duties

Costa Rica Import Duties and Tariffs

Costa Rica imports a lot of products. Any product that enters Costa Rica with very limited exceptions must pay import duties to the Costa Rican Treasury Department (Ministerio de Hacienda). The specific department that administers import duties is the Customs Department (Servicio General de Aduanas). These Import taxes, duties and tariffs and all matters related to importing goods into Costa Rica is administered by the Customs Department of the Ministry of the Treasury of Costa Rica.

How do you know how much tax an item will have to pay. Costa Rica adheres to the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) which is a goods classification code system developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) that is used as the basis to establish the custom duty tariff that each item will have to pay when imported into the country. This product classification systems is referred to locally as the “partida arancelaria”

For example if you wanted to import furniture to Costa Rica then you would look under Section XX – Miscellaneous Manufactured Articles of the HS coding system and there you would find Chapter 94 which covers “Furniture; bedding, mattresses, mattress supports, cushions and similar stuffed furnishings; lamps and lighting fittings, not elsewhere specified or included; illuminated signs, illuminated name-plates and the like; prefabricated buildings.” Then within that chapter you would have further sub classifications depending on the type of furniture. For example code # 9403.30 would be for “Wooden Furniture Of a Kind Used in Offices” and code # 9403.40 would be for “Wooden Furniture Of a Kind Used in the Kitchen”

So where do you find these code classification. For those of you that want to read on and get more detailed information about the classification codes and the procedure to calculate the import tariff by way of the Customs Department calculation system then read on. However, if you are just looking for a quick basic estimate on the import tax that a particular product will pay when you bring it into Costa Rica then take a look at the Alphabetical Product List With Tax Percentages set forth below where you will find an alphabetical list of the most commonly imported items with the estimated import tax percentage next to the product.

The full customs classification system known as HTS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule) can be accessed for free on the website of the United States International Trade Commission. The site let you search by entering the product name or the classification number if you have it. You can also obtain the classifications at the website of the World Customs Organization (WCO) but they have a paid subscripton system. If you want the list in Spanish then you can view it at the following link: Spanish Partida Arancelaria

Once you have your product HTS classification number how do you find out the tax that the Costa Rican Customs Department will apply to that product ? First of all the basis for calculating the tax will be the Cost of the product plus Insurance and Freight incurred to get the product to Costa Rica. This is referred to as the C.I.F. price.

The Import Duty that the product will pay is a percentage of the C.I.F. price of the product. To determine that duty you can visit the official site of the Costa Rican Customs Department. You will be required to create an account before you can log in to conduct any searches in the system.

Once you are at the input screen you will have to enter the HTS classification number range for the product that you are looking for. In our furniture import example above we determined that the classification for wooden furniture was 940330 for office furniture and 940340 for kitchen furniture. Enter those ranges and the date where indicated. That information reveals that the import duty for that products is 14%. In addition the product will also have to pay the 13% sales tax and 1% additional tax for Law #6946 bringing the total import duties to 28% of the C.I.F. value of the product.

This article is meant to provide you with a basic understanding of how the Costa Rican government applies the import duties on products that are imported into the country. If you are considering importing goods into Costa Rica I would suggest you contact a reputable Customs Broker that can assist you with all the documentation that you will require to import your goods into Costa Rica.