Written by Attorney Roger Petersen – February 2010
The President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias is expected to sign an Executive Decree which will make the attraction of foreign retirees to Costa Rica a National Priority.
By implementing this policy the government can then provide incentives to the baby boomers that want to retire in Costa Rica. The government will also be able to provide incentives and streamline the permitting process for companies that build retirement communities for the Baby Boomers.
In 1971 Costa Rica was at the forefront in legislation attracting foreign retirees. In that year Costa Rica passed the Pensionado-Rentista program which at the time was administered by the Costa Rican Tourism Board. The program was very successful and instrumental in attracting retirees and investors to Costa Rica for many years.
The program provided several tax incentives to retirees that would settle in Costa Rica including duty free importation of an automobile and tax exemption on household furnishings brought into the country by the retiree.
Decisions of previous governmental administrations eliminated all the tax exemptions making the program just another immigration category with no incentives at all.
The personalized treatment previously offered to applicants by the Costa Rican Tourism Board was eliminated and the processing was turned over to the general processing window at the Department of Immigration.
While Costa Rica minimized the Retiree program other countries in Latin America such as Panama, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Uruguay, Belize and Mexico implemented and strengthened retiree programs of their own. By signing this decree it now appears that Costa Rica wants to once again take the lead in attracting retirees. After all it is estimated that in the United States alone there are more than 70 million “baby boomers”.
For Baby Boomers interested in Costa Rica this means that you will be offered tax breaks and incentives for settling in Costa Rica. Another benefit which is surely welcome is that Retirees will have a special processing window at the Department of Immigration to handle their immigration applications.
We won’t know the extent of those incentives until the Executive Decree is signed and published.
Written by Attorney at Law – Roger A. Petersen. Roger has been an attorney since 1992 and is a member of both the Costa Rican and Florida Bar. He practices law in San José, Costa Rica and is the author of the best-selling book ‘The Legal Guide To Costa Rica.’
This article was reprinted with permission from welovecostarica.com and can be found at http://www.welovecostarica.com/members/Costa_Rica_Declares_Baby_Boomers_To_Be_A_National_Priority.cfm.
NOTE: You can read a translation of the original article which Petersen comments here.