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Costa Rica: Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes

Offshore Operations

Since there is no offshore sector as such in Costa Rica, there are no limitations on the types of activity that can be carried on by companies taking advantage of Costa Rica's low-tax regime.

Restrictions are placed on foreign investment in the state-owned monopolies of telecommunications, alcohol distilleries, insurance, newspapers, radio, television broadcasting, electricity and petroleum refining in all of which industries foreign participation is either forbidden or alternatively required to be part of a joint venture with a Costa Rican majority shareholding partner.

Beachfront development concessions also require local participation with the requirement that 50% of the capital must come from nationals and that foreigners wishing to be joint partners must have resided in Costa Rica for at least 5 years.

The advantages of the Export Processing Zones (see above) are of course limited to their physical extent, although there has been some 'spread' of these Zones into adjacent Industrial Parks, particularly for processing and service companies. Many of the tax advantages afforded by locating in such zones will have to be phased out, however, in line with Costa Rica's World Trade Organization commitments.



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