Lately, Costa Rica has boosted the attraction of film investments. This type of industry has been promoted because the country has become one of the best tourist and business destinations due to its impressive natural beauty, pleasant business climate, and legal system. Tourists and important investment groups find the right environment for their projects; among them are those of film production, be it cinema, television, commercial, or advertising.
In this regard, Law # 10.071, “LAW TO ATTRACT FILM INVESTMENT IN COSTA RICA,” was enacted on November 16, 2021, published in the Official Gazette La Gaceta No. 239 of December 13, 2021, the date from which it becomes effective, and whose purpose is to promote investment and development of film activities of international character, according to its Article 2, declaring itself of “public interest” (Article 1). It contemplates, among other aspects:
1) Film activities.
Film activities benefiting from the scope of this law (article 2):
(a) Short, medium, and feature films;
b) Documentaries, series, and soap operas;
c) Reality shows, audiovisual marketing pieces, commercials, and video clips;
d) Serial programs or their chapters;
e) Post-production services; and
f) Drawing, digital animation, and video games.
These activities must be totally or partially produced in Costa Rica, target a broad international market and make local commercial linkages.
1) Beneficiaries and incentives.
Aimed at individuals or legal entities not domiciled in Costa Rica, producers, or co-producers of the film industry together with national individuals or legal entities (article 4), providing:
a) Exemption from income tax and on remittances abroad, whose source is not generated in the country;
b) Suspension of taxes for temporary importation, etc.
c) Exemption from all taxes on costumes, scenery, etc.; and
d) Refund of 90% of the total amount paid for VAT on purchases of goods and services over five hundred thousand dollars.
2) Local governments (Municipalities).
In migratory aspects, for example, local or municipal governments will govern, being able to approve exemptions and permits for the use of locations (Article 8).
3) Migratory facilities.
Another fundamental aspect is the migratory facilities (article 9), for which adequate and timely prior legal advice is recommended, for the meticulous preparation of the corresponding documents, such as material, documentary, and legal information, related to aspects such as staff, equipment to be imported, temporary or definitive, locations, tax facilities, project term, etc.
To access the immigration facilities, the identity and specific function of each person entering the country must be provided, and a temporary work visa or immigration permit must be granted.
Another novel aspect, due to the agility required by these projects and that, in some cases, depends on weather factors or availability of locations, is that Immigration, to prove the identity of the staff to enter, can make use of any type of document, physical or digital information, affidavits or other instruments it deems relevant.
4) Filming in State locations.
Filming in State locations, such as national parks, forest reserves, etc., is encouraged.
This article is just a general aspect of Law # 10.071 that promotes the filming investment.