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End of year? Marchamo time!

November 23rd, 2014

moneyIf you own a car here in Costa Rica, you probably already know what is marchamo. Marchamo is paid every December and gives you the right to take your car out of the garage (or wherever) and drive it in Costa Rica, i.e. “circulate”. There are over 1 million cars in Costa Rica.  The marchamo payment includes mandatory liability insurance, property tax, sales and other taxes and any traffic fines that you have failed to pay.  Depending on the age and model of your car, marchamo is by no means cheap. Interested in this topic?  Read On!

Marchamo  is paid to The National Insurance Institute, El Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS). Payment is pretty simply.  To find out how much you need to pay, you simply visit this web site. For automobile owners, you select “PARTICULAR” from the drop down box for Tipo de vehiculo.  Enter your license plate number in the box: “Número de placa:”  Enter the anti-spam code and press “Consultar” and you will see what you need to pay.  For my car, a 2009 Nissan, I will need to pay ₡247,056 (colones), about $460.00 on or before 31 December of face a fine of ₡47,000 (about $85) and having my plates confiscated.

If you have a cell phone, you can also send a text (SMS) with the word MARCHAMO followed by your license plate number to 1467. I have not tested this.

Of the ₡247,056 I will pay, it is allocated to:

LEY 7088 Y REF. 1,793.00
IMPUESTO DE VENTAS (13%) 2,467.00

The biggie is the property tax.

You will also have have the option to purchase other services. This include:

SEGURO SU VIDA      (life insurance)
SEGURO RESPONSABILIDAD CIVIL       (Increased liability)
SEGURO ASISTENCIA EN CARRETERA        (roadside assistance)

How much will be your marchamo varies according to the year, make of the vehicle.  It is still not cheap even for older cars.  My wife will pay about $150.00 for her 2001 Honda.

I normally pay my marchamo online via my bank, and I am pretty sure all Costa Rica banks permit online payment.  I then go to my local bank about 24 (business) hours later to get the window sticker and paperwork. There are also about a zillion other payment locations as eveidence by the “Pago Marchamo” signs all over the country.

To pay your marchamo, vehicle owners must present a valid ID (cedula, drivers license, passport) and be able to show proof that you are up-to-date with (RITEVE), the mandatory vehicle inspection.


5 Responses to “End of year? Marchamo time!”

  1. Casey on November 23, 2014 11:50 am

    My bank, and probably most, also let you pay at the bank and they can print the doc/sticker on the spot for no extra charge. I prefer this as my bank, Davivienda, never has a line more than 2 deep.

    Any idea what the obligatory ins. actually covers and whether it’s a good idea to buy the 3rd party insurance as well?

  2. Tim on November 23, 2014 12:06 pm

    It is a very low coverage liability. Many expats buy an additional liability coverage or at the minimum, add the SEGURO RESPONSABILIDAD CIVIL and the SEGURO MAS PROTECCION.

    I prefer to pay online as my bank has priory lines and I never have to wait to PU the goodies.

  3. Walter Freeman on November 23, 2014 1:23 pm

    My Marchamo on a 2009 Kia Sportage, 2000cc, 4 cyl, gasoline, straight drive went up 22% this year. The 1990 Ford pickup went up 16%. It is obvious that the government is in dire need of funds and is finding non-traditional way of getting them. You can expect such things to continue and accelerate.

  4. Bob Anderson on November 28, 2014 5:50 pm

    I am planning on retiring done there this June. What kind of tariff on a 2004 Toyota Corolla, 4 cylinder, manual trans, 4 door.

  5. hank on January 28, 2015 5:40 am

    I just came down here in march of 2014 and bought a car down. 2003 Honda crv. my advise to you is sell your corolla up there and then buy a car down here. to bring a car down here is very expensive. You’ll pay for the shipping, the paperwork. the customs agent, the inspection. (they usually find something wrong) the cost to repair the problem so it will pass inspection, and the red tape will drive you crazy. By the time you are finished you will have paid enough to have purchased your car all over again. Save yourself some aggravation and buy the same car here with the money you got from selling there. You will still have to pay more than what you received for it in the States, but with far less aggravation.

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