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Costa Rica Restarts Efforts At E-Invoicing Following Failure Of Five-Year Experiment
The Ministry of Finance in Costa Rica has decided to scrap all efforts made to introduce electronic invoicing the last five years. Instead, Fernando Rodriguez, Deputy Minister of Revenue at the Directorate General of Taxation (DGT), has opted to restart the country’s attempts to utilize electronic invoicing from the outset. In doing so, he has decided to discard the work performed by the previous administration and initiate a new project for mandatory e-signatures from scratch. In addition, the new system includes the creation of new procedures to capture, process and control e-invoice information.
While a date for the completion of Costa Rica’s latest attempts to introduce electronic invoicing to its business community has not been set, Rodriguez has gone on record to say he aims to have it completed by the end of 2014.
Costa Rican officials have been fiddling with electronic invoicing initiatives since 2007. Regulations governing it featuring voluntary participation rules became effective in 2009. However, in 2013, The Directorate General of Taxation created his own software for e-invoicing and announced his plans to introduce a pilot program based on it in early 2013. The pilot program required voluntary participation (oxymoron) but the regulations did not help.
Failure has continued to dog the government’s attempts to introduce e-invoicing. According to experts, the main weakness of the government’s pilot program was its attempts at establishing a single computer system.
In a recent article online, Alicia Avendano, director of Digital Government, said Costa Rica’s biggest mistake as it attempted to initiate e-invoicing was promoting the initiative as a project with relevance to the tax authorities, sans specific benefits to taxpayers.
According to Avendano, Costa Rica needs to define a strategy for the mass use of electronic invoicing based on a gradual obligation. He also recommended that Costa Rican officials closely study the successes and failures of other nations, such as Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Peru, as they initiated virtual payment policies within their borders.