Tax Bulletin

March 2016

Tax information

Current Base Salary


Current Interest Rate
(As from March the 1st, 2016)


Late payment penalty rate
(month or part month)


Reference Exchange rate BCCR USD
(March 1st, 2016))





Administrative Court ruling determines that cooperatives are not entities subject to Municipal Patent Tax in the municipality of San José

In recent years, the debate on the status of cooperatives as taxable subjects to Municipal Patent Tax, acquired greater importance due to the growth experienced by such entities.

That discussion led to a series of statements by various State bodies, which include the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, which ruled on the matter in ruling No. 5487-94 of 19:03 hours of September 21, 1994:

"II.- Under the above, if the appellant Cooperative aims to develop a commercial activity of food retail, which is completely different to the purpose for which it was established, it is clear that it should request to the Municipality the corresponding commercial license, since food sales to the public is not the reason that the Cooperative was established. In this sense, the APG-76 11/07/92 pronouncement of the General Attorney of the Republic by which the cooperatives that license or "patent" are exempt, only applicable to the activity developed by the Cooperative itself, as object and purpose but not to other commercial activities in which it chooses to participate, like any other entity. Therefore, there is no reason for Coopebus to be treated with privileges before the law, in relation to food retail. In view of the above and because this is a matter of mere legality, since it is the Municipality of San José, the entity responsible for deciding on granting patents on business, the present action must be dismissed. "

To face this situation, some municipalities, including San Jose, have sought to include Cooperatives, specifically those called for Savings and Credit, as companies with lucrative character and therefore as taxpayers of the Municipal Patent Tax. A recent ruling by Section IV of the Administrative Court (No. TCA-026-2016-IV, 13:30 hours, from 7 March 2016), spoke on the condition of Cooperatives as taxable persons Patent Municipal, in the central canton of San Jose, ruling that cooperatives because of their legal nature are entities without profit aim, that being an incompatible condition with the taxable event of the Municipal Patent Tax, which is the development of an activity with profit aim within the canton, therefore they should be considered entities not subject to  Municipal Patent Tax.

Also, and in strict compliance with the existing rulings, the Administrative Court ruled that in the case that cooperative associations perform activities different to their social purpose, they should be taxed only on the corresponding proportion to the income generated by these activities.

This ruling provides clarity about the status of cooperative associations as entities not subject to the payment of municipal license tax.

Daniel Pelecano
Tax & Legal Services

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. Please see for a more detailed description of DTTL and its member firms.


Deloitte provides audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, tax and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Deloitte serves four out of five Fortune Global 500® companies through a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries bringing world-class capabilities, insights, and high-quality service to address clients’ most complex business challenges. To learn more about how Deloitte’s approximately 225,000 professionals make an impact that matters, please connect with us on FacebookLinkedIn or Twitter.


This communication contains general information only, and none of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, its member firms, or their related entities (collectively, the “Deloitte Network”) is, by means of this communication, rendering professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your finances or your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser. No entity in the Deloitte Network shall be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person who relies on this communication.

Did you find this useful?