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What Companies and Projects Can Be Registered in Costa Rica?

 shareholders, while S.R.L. structures demand only 1 director and shareholder, simplifying the setup process. The government actively promotes investment in high-tech manufacturing sectors like semiconductors, electronics, and medical development. 

Their aim is to diversify the economy beyond traditional sectors like agriculture. After all, Costa Rica has evolved from an economy once solely dependent on agriculture to one that is more diverse, with significant contributions from tourism, electronics and medical components exports, medical manufacturing, and IT. Corporate services for foreign companies employ approximately 3% of the workforce.

Are There Any Restrictions on Foreign Ownership for Certain Types of Companies or Projects in Costa Rica?

Foreign ownership is not restricted in Costa Rica for the majority of company categories. Due to the lack of regulations governing the movement of money, foreign nationals are free to acquire property as they choose. Nonetheless, local taxes must be paid by businesses, and they must adhere to all regulations.

What Is the Process for Registering a New Business in Costa Rica, And Does This Process Differ Between Local and Foreign Entrepreneurs?

Registering a business in Costa Rica involves several steps:

  1. Registering the Company. Submit a detailed request to the National Registry of Costa Rica containing information about the company's name, address, activities, share capital, and more.
  2. Obtaining the Operating Permit. After registration, acquire the operating permit from the corresponding municipality to authorize business operations.
  3. Obtaining Tax Identification. Obtain a tax identification number (NIT) from the General Directorate of Direct Taxation (DGTD) for tax compliance.
  4. Securing Necessary Authorizations. Depending on the business activities, additional authorizations from relevant government entities may be required.
  5. Registering with Social Security. All companies must register with the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) and contribute to social security for employees.
  6. Opening a Bank Account. Open a bank account with an authorized financial institution in Costa Rica for financial transactions.

To make sure you're in compliance, it's a good idea to get some legal and accounting assistance since the procedure can be complicated. Also, there is a difference between foreign and local Costa Rica company formation processes, but it’s not as significant as you might think. 

Can Technology Startups and Digital Nomad Projects Be Registered in Costa Rica, And What Specific Programs or Incentives Are Available for These Types of Ventures?

Startups and digital nomad ventures will find Costa Rica to be a very receptive environment. For up to a year, remote workers may live in Costa Rica tax-free thanks to the digital nomad program. They'll also have access to banking services and won't have to pay customs taxes on essential tech.

Foreign nationals are welcome to join Costa Rica's digital nomad program. An ordinary tourist visa valid for 90 days may be extended to a full year via this scheme, and it is possible to renew for an extra year. Digital nomads in Costa Rica have a lot of perks, such as not having to pay income tax and being able to use their driver's license from home to create a national bank account. 

What Are the Environmental Regulations and Sustainability Requirements for Registering Projects in Costa Rica, Particularly in Sensitive Sectors Like Tourism, Agriculture, and Manufacturing? 

Costa Rica has high rates of forest protection, renewable energy production, garbage recycling, and sustainability education. The government promotes conservation via a carbon price and strict environmental restrictions.

Costa Rica's high Sustainable Development Goals Index position is due to its excellent sustainability measures. Additional information includes:

  • Costa Rica is 98% deforestation-free. Sustainability has helped Costa Rica prevent deforestation, a key cause of climate change.
  • They get 99% of their energy from hydro, wind, and solar. This is because they invest heavily in hydroelectric power, which generates 80% of their renewable energy.
  • 60% of Costa Rican garbage is recycled. The "pay as you throw" scheme, which charges households by garbage weight, is to blame.
  • They emphasize sustainability education. All Costa Rican students must attend sustainability classes from elementary to university. 
  • Costa Rica has one of the most diversified ecosystems. More than 25% of Costa Rica is a national park and reserve. 
  • Tourism drives their economy, which promotes sustainability nationwide.
  • The requirements for businesses looking to enter the jurisdiction might vary by industry, so it’s best to look for specifics.

How Does Costa Rica Support Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), And Are There Particular Incentives or Programs Aimed at Entrepreneurial Development?

Programs like PROPYME help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by providing them with financial and technical support to help them become more competitive. Furthermore, to encourage entrepreneurial development, the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Promotion and Development Law offers tax benefits to MSMEs with an eye on export. It offers tax breaks to MSMEs. A 50% income tax exemption and a 200% deduction for export-related costs are two examples.

Micro, small, and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) that want to become more productive and competitive may apply for financial and technical aid via the PROPYME Program. A variety of incentives are available, such as business advising services, technical training, and loans.

What Legal and Regulatory Considerations Should Be Taken into Account When Registering a Non-Profit or Charitable Project in Costa Rica?

Tax-exempt organization formation is needed to start non-profit or charity operations. Associations must have a defined goal and organization, 10 members, and a 7-member board of directors, including women. Registration takes weeks due to legal and financial issues.

The company’s mission is crucial. It should define the organization's activities. For example, civic leagues and other corporations that promote social welfare, or local associations of employees with membership limited to a company or people in a municipality or neighborhood, use net earnings for charitable, educational, religious, or recreational purposes.

Registering a new organization and receiving a Corporate Identification takes 15-22 days. Legalizing legal and accounting records by tax authorities takes another week. Documents that require Consulate apostolic or legalization will take longer to process.

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