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  1. Interesting stuff as I have SA to hold property. Redbeard (or Induna?) can you explain what you say as the removal of the (i.e. real estate transfer tax exemption). I was not aware of any transfer tax for example if the shares of the corp are changed in the SA books and you have actual printed shares on legal paper (which I recommend) which can be endorsed in advance on the back without putting a name in but should be able to just be transferred after death, adding a new name and updating the books. In this case I dont see any need for a transfer tax. Maybe selling the corp could incur a tax but if the shares are just transferred and the changes made in the books I think the new owner can be registered in the Registro Nacional with some kind of fee for the paperwork. A properly registered will is a great idea as well which should cover transfer (although I believe there is a probate with a will also but it is quicker and less open to someone else coming in to challenge assets during a probate without a will). My understanding is that automatically will or not that the surviving spouse gets 50% of all assets and can not be challenged. I guess the point is that everyone with these potential situations best see a good attorney, make a will and do what they can on the books and shares in advance to ensure a clean transfer. Also remember that any bank account has the ability to name a beneficiary. So in the case of an account in one spouses name add the other spouse as a beneficiary. For anyone with a safe deposit box make sure you have both spouses listed when you open the box. Unexpected death can create many problems along with the sadness involved. Plan ahead to keep stress levels down.
  2. Architect fees are totally negotiable within a certain range. Values on a construction as noted are determined by the architect college based on the architect design presented. The value determined and listed on the college receipts and on the plans presented determine what you pay to the municipality for taxes on construction and the INS employee insurance. Both of those are a fixed percentage of value. While I am not advocating the following I present simply as a method that many Ticos use when getting plans and permissions. What many Ticos do as I understand it is have an architecture student provide the plans and then get a licensed architect to sign the plans for a fee. The architect in this scenario actually does not view the property but simply for a fee signs the plans so that the plans can be submitted to the college. Some Ticos will have the plans include less square meters of construction, no ceilings, no tile floors etc which impacts the value coming out of the college. Then the plans are submitted to the municipality (in some cases other government entities need to sign based on watersheds, risk of building based on being near a slope etc). I am told that there is a rule that if the construction is less than 30 square meters (which is very small about 310SF) then you get a waiver on the need for an architect and can simply provide a basic drawing for approval. I do not see how this option would work personally but am told some people do it this way then build much more sq. footage and take a risk of a fine. The value of the plans determines the fee to the municipality and they will provide a receipt which is used to go to INS for the insurance for the workers. Then as I understand it the Ticos build out the actual construction as they desire basically altering the presented construction plans and hoping that an inspector does not visit or if they do get a visit they may have to pay a fine for building different than the plans submitted. I guess this varies depending on the municipality the construction is in. Many localities do not inspect (particularly if it is a smaller more rural area) actual construction. Keep in mind I am not advocating any method but simply passing on info from some Tico friends who have done construction and I have discussed the process with them simply out of curiosity. I assume that this tactic requires that the owner is involved in the construction (as have my friends have been who related this to me) and handles most of the details. In order to reduce costs the most efficient way is for the owner to be involved in the construction, have some knowledge of construction and even manage the construction including sourcing and buying the materials etc. Obviously the owner would need to speak and understand at least a basic level of Spanish to manage this. Actually supervising construction (if the person knows construction) is best as if an owner does a set fee contract then the materials used can be substandard or short cuts can occur which affect the integrity of the final construction. This supervision process is what an architect should do for an owner that has no construction experience to assure that it is built properly. So in the case of no construction knowledge paying a higher fee can be worth it (if the architect actually visits the site during construction especially before pouring footings, columns etc). But the owner in this case should clearly stipulate number of visits etc. In any case as for architecture fees on a 50K US construction should be far less than 10-15% or $5,000 - $7,500. Even if it includes fees for passing the college. Seems very high. This is based on a discussion I had from a friend who recently built a smaller building. Again I am not advocating anything simply presenting info passed on by Ticos. Good luck on the construction.
  3. Just noticed that the US congress passed a new highway funding bill which passed with bipartisan support and Obama says he will sign and approve it. While I do not drive US highways nor use trains or public transport there etc I think this may be a good measure to inject money into infrastructure. However as these politicians have a habit of doing (think FACTA in 2010 inserted into a labor bill) they like to inject into these new laws things that may have nothing to do with the main purpose of the legislation. As I had made mention to before in another thread included in this bill based on my reading of news articles are two things we should all be aware of. Nobody here is a tax cheat (?) but be aware that this new law included approval for private collection agencies to go after people who they think owe money in taxes. More importantly if they (The IRS ) decides someone owes $50.000.00 or more in back taxes (which includes obscene IMHO fines and interest) They can summarily decide that the person in question can not renew or get a US passport until the IRS is satisfied that the debt is paid. Please make sure you are up to date and paid up. Not having a passport of course can be a big bummer and not at all Pura Vida. Read more here and google more if interested .http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-may-soon-have-power-to-take-passports-from-tax-delinquents-2015-11-17
  4. To continue to read la Nacion after your free articles download a cleaner like CCcleaner and wipe out your cookies. You will lose recent sites you visited in memory and have to type those back in but you then are starting again at zero. Does not affect bookmarks. Works for all the newspaper sites I visit like NYT.com etc. This also gets rid of some other crap out of your browser.
  5. This is soo funny!!!! I think the work place would be better if they did use this language. You immediatly understand with these phrases IMHO.
  6. Free sounds great. 65 not so great. At least I have that to look forward to. thanks for the tip.
  7. Hello All, I realize this post is a bit off topic but want to post a link to a Panamanian expat blogger who has a current story explaining quite in detail the Panamanian health care options for expats and some specific cost info. This guy also sells tours etc but has some good stories about life in Panama which could be good reading for anyone considering Panama. As we very often have folks who are considering either Panama or Costa Rica and health care is a critical factor there may be some who would enjoy taking the time to read the post. The blog is regularly updated so the health care piece will probably be moved down soon and you would need to look for it. Richard Detrich is his name. site is: http://richarddetrich.com/ His $7,000 cost for some stents and heart work just reinforces my luck in having both Caja and private INS insurance at a reasonable cost which when I need a stent or two my share should be no more than $1,000. And this performed at CIMA or Biblica with top notch cardiologist. I Love Costa Rica and the health care options I have here between the Caja and private Insurance .
  8. Nice post!! Thanks for the blessings. I am so thankful I am here in CR and while I will miss my turkey and friends and family I will have a nice roast chicken with homemade dressing, and some turkey day sides to go with it. Watch football and enjoy. (and there is always skype to make some calls to all) Pura Vida!!
  9. Hey Mark, well that would be good news if they only charge the medical portion to those 55 or older. I am not familiar with the current process as I got into the system a longtime ago. All I can say is that looking at my monthly receipt the percent charge for both items of my listed salary or ingresos es %12.28 percent total which is close to the 13% I hear from the forums that is the current charge for residents. However the bill is broken into two specific items each of which is exactly half of the total cost per month. One is called Sem Obrero with a code of 0001 which I think is the medical portion. The other is listed as code 0035 called I.V.M. obrero which I think is the pension part. Both are the exact same fee and add up to the 12.28% listed. So I am thinking if this is the case for me and If I did not have the pension portion included should I not then pay only the medical portion which would be 6.14%? Again I have no details of the current process but by process of logic then they are charging the same percentage as if a person had the pension even though they wont receive it because they will not have enough time to qualify. Maybe someone from ARCR can define this and at the least if I were new and getting processed for the CAJA I would be sure that the person issuing the fee at the CAJA does not try to slip in a charge for pension for someone over 55. They may try to include that on everyone. Or maybe the new rule is 13% on income just for medical and in that case this does not apply. best of luck to all on this now very thorny twist to residency.
  10. From what I have seen the OBAMACARE programs for the lowest priced premiums include a very large deductible of 5k or more a year. This is reduced as you go from bronze plans up to gold or whatever they are calling them. But the premium for a higher deductible (IE the cheapest plan) plan is very high. Much more than my private plan through ins (1,500 per year with a new this year $300.00 deductible in addition) Add on top my caja payment of $50.00 per month (I got in a long time ago so pay less) which half of the premium is for a pension which will be around $ 220.00 a month when I retire at 65 and then they also wiave the caja medical fee at the point you are pensioned with them. I would ask if I were applying for CAJA now that they not charge the half of the cost for a pension if you are 55 or older as you will not be able to qualify for a pension as you wont have time to make enough monthly payments to qualify. I think they will charge you the pension part but you may not be able to live long enough to qualify for it. Ask them for a letter that explains how you qualify for a pension at what age if you start paying now at 55 or older. You should be able to get out of 50% of the payment as there is no way to be able to get the pension part depending on your current age. Not sure if this would work but I would demand that they give you something in writing that says if you pay the pension part that at x age you qualify for some type of pension and the waiving then the medical fee portion.
  11. Saw the title and thought it was about the recent futbol match. We beat Panama 2-0!!! GO TICOS!!!
  12. El video por lo menos es una ayuda para Ticos para saber sobre el proceso de aplicarse. Si tiene quejas de gastar dinero de los Estadounidenses vea esta lista de ayuda. La mayoria de esta plata es un ridiculo. (en mi opinion) http://www.usembassy.or.cr/cooperation/Q1%202012.htm
  13. Glad to hear you are involved Lucy belle. Some important issues there for sure and ones I would agree with you on. However not being married, nor gay, nor a woman, nor a an illegal immigrant I concentrate on many of the good things I find here in Costa Rica vs the USA. Nice weather, cheap and excellent heath care (thanks ARCR for the group INS policy), good food, nice people (mostly), Local government easy to get along with, close by and interesting places to visit in the country, car insurance and tag fee dirt cheap, low property taxes, government off my back and finally a country without an army that does not go around thinking it is the police force of the world. There are other benefits of course and some mostly minor details that are not the best but overall living here for me is much better than the USA.
  14. There is basically very little difference between Obama and the rest of the dems and most all of the GOP. The only one out there with any kind of solution is RP. However the establishment and main stream media never give him the time of day. Not to worry RP wont get elected since not enough people understand his message. However one day maybe his son Rand can become president. The tea party revolution was started by Doctor Ron Paul and is the only thing that gives me hope that some day enough Americans will wake up and help return the country to what it was when I was growing up. in the meantime thank god I have the opportunity to be a legal resident here in Costa Rica. Even with all it's flaws it is way more free than the USA is currently. just my dos centavos
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