The Legal Affairs Committee of the Congress of Costa Rica has unanimously decided to shelve the bill that aimed at imposing a tax on lottery prizes higher than 462k colones, or approximately $700.
The Representative for the political party Frente Amplio (FA) José María Villalta explained that the project had been developed without “the studies or the justification that a subject so important as this one should have.”
He also called the Government “irresponsible and absent” for not “assuming its responsibility with bills [like this one],” as reported by the local outlet Monumental.
“If the Executive Branch wants to seriously discuss this tax on lottery prizes, it will have to present a serious, well-thought project, with the economic studies that we’ve mentioned before that are needed,” added Villalta.
The tax targeted prizes higher than 460k colones, as part of a package of measures created to access a $1.7bn International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan. The tax was expected to allow the government to collect around 0.12% of the GDP, or about $67.4m a year.
Walter Muñoz, Representative for the Partido Integración Nacional (PIN), said that, from a fiscal point of view, the taxes set by the current Costa Rican government “haven’t solved anything about the country’s fiscal deficit.”
And he added: “Even more so when it comes to imposing a tax on lottery prizes and some other games, which would imply that some people who play to help themselves or others [would stop doing it].”
Last week, the presidential candidate for the Liberation Party (PLN), José María Figueres, assured that he would try to eliminate 25 taxes that represent high costs for the Government, including the one on casinos and electronic bets.
According to Figueres, these taxes make up 0.02% of the GDP, so it wouldn’t represent big changes for the local coffers.