Forming Your Corporation

Costa Rica does not distinguish between onshore and offshore businesses as such. The basis of taxation is territorial, with both residents and non-residents paying tax on Costa Rican income, and not foreign currency income. However, the Costa Rican Government has increasingly sought to make a virtue out of the country's low-tax regime, and there are a number of special regimes offering tax privileges to particular sectors, which are described in this section. Between 2003 and 2005 the government has been struggling to pass a Permanent Fiscal Reform Package in an attempt to reduce the country's deficit. One of the key components of the package would be a switch from the sales tax to a Value Added Tax system; taxes payable by Free Zone companies would also be increased over a period, and it's possible that the territorial basis of personal taxation would be abandoned in favor of world-wide income taxation.

Once you have decided to form your own Stock Company, S.A., you will need to decide whether or not you want to self-manage your company, or appoint a Nominee Director, usually a resident, who will keep the company’s books and registers. The company will still be yours, however, you will need a Management Agreement between yourself and the director agreeing to the terms of how the business will be conducted.

Now you need to decide upon a name for your company. The name may be in English or in Spanish, but you cannot use a name already registered as an existing business entity. Once you have selected your name, we perform for you the following:

  • Confirm the availability of your chosen name and register it with the Registro Publico.
  • Receive from the Registro Publico your “Cedula de persona juridical” - analogous to a corporate identification number, this will allow your company to begin to transact business
  • Issue your notarized “Personaria” which recognizes the existence of your company and lists who has signature authority on business matters
  • The President may grant himself “poder generlisimo sin suma,” which in effect grants complete power to the President to transact all financial and other business in his name—the President may at any later date grant various levels of privilege to appointees, as well as revoke, or redistribute said powers
  • Enter the paperwork for the “Solicitud de Patente,” which grants the “uso del suelo,” which will allow for the establishment of an office
  • Customize your Articles of Incorporation according to your desires and needs
  • Finally, we complete the necessary tax registration forms, which you will need to sign and then we will file them for you

Please see Types of Corporations to decide which form suits your needs.

Types Of Corporation

  • Limited Liability Corporation
  • Limited Partnership
  • General Partnership
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Foundation or Trust
  • Stock Corporation
  • Shelf Corporations

Why Choose Costa Rica?


Costa Rica has many distinct characteristics and advantages that International Business Corporations (IBC's) can make the most of. Although Costa Rica is not classified as an offshore financial hub in the traditional sense, its favorable tax regime implies that it could have been classified as a tax haven some decades ago.

However, the Costa Rican government has only recently realized the potential of being a tax haven and has started to actively legislate and promote this sector of economic activity. The low taxation available to businesses of Costa Rica makes it an attractive offshore financial investment center for most businesses across the globe.

A number of well known businesses have already set up shop in Costa Rica but the economy is still at infancy. © 2019