Starting a new business in Costa Rica is relatively easy. The average cost to incorporate is $1200. A Costa Rica limited liability corporation is known a Socieded Anónima or “S.A.” and serves the same function as an LLC. The ownership is done with share holders and will have a President, Secretary and Treasurer (all mandatory). Once incorporated, with the S.A. you can open a bank account and operate a business. Most people in Nosara have a business that caters to either tourism or to both the local community and tourism. Restaurants, hotels and services are obviously common here.
If you plan on hiring local talent, it is again strongly recommended that all employees are registered in Caja (Social Security). One of the major differences to hiring employees in Costa Rica is that they are paid for 13 months a year. There is a law call “aguinaldo” which is the payment equivalent to one month’s salary paid in December. It’s like a Christmas bonus. There are also five paid public holidays.
There are more specific laws for different types of industries so it is recommended you consult with a licensed Cost Rica attorney for all the details. You can also refer to this website (http://www.mtss.go.cr/temas-laborales/).
Working Online: There are an increasing number of Nosara residents who work over the Internet. Much of the time, the clients on the ‘other end’ of the call are none the wiser. I know people who trade online, have refurbished cell phone companies, run marketing firms based in New York, sell software worldwide, and even authors who are based right in Nosara. The Internet has allowed people to live wherever; and some are choosing Costa Rica. There is one significant benefit to Americans living/working abroad. If you live outside the U.S. for 11 months/year you can file your tax return as an ex-pat. That means you are exempt from paying Federal Income Tax up to about $100,800 and you pay no State Tax. For details you’ll want to talk to your accountant. Your cost of living could be covered by the amount of money you save.
Shared Office Space: Looking for a place to work with high speed Wi-Fi, AC and an office atmosphere? There are places to rent like “Offices by the Beach” in Playa Guiones. Desk space runs about $250/month while offices can range from $350-$1000/month. That price includes: electric, water, Internet, cleaning and security.