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Guess who wants expats' Social Security numbers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. State Department will seek Social Security numbers from Americans who renew a passport. This is a rule that went into effect last week.

American Citizens Abroad, an expat advocate group, said that while not discussed in the regulations, it seems clear that with this information the tax people, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service,  can check to see whether tax returns are being filed.

"These rules do not provide that a passport will not be issued or will somehow be invalidated or 'frozen' if forms/returns are not filed," said the association. "This subject is, in a fashion, addressed in other proposed legislation that would, in effect, freeze or cancel a passport where
 the individual did not pay a sizable tax liability."

Congress is considering a bill that would prevent individuals with tax liabilities from leaving the United States. Already forbidden to leave are those who are in arrears with large child support payments.

The new regulation also asked those seeking passports to provide a permanent address and a valid mailing address, either U.S. or foreign, said the association. The rules apply if the passport is sought in the United States or at State Department consular services overseas.

Some Latin American countries require proof that a citizen or resident is current with income taxes in order to leave the country.

Donation offered for new north Pacific coast airport
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An air strip could attract even more visitors to the popular cluster of beaches in Costa Rica's northwest coast because Conchal-area businesses have offered up a piece of land for the government to build one.

The Santa Cruz, Guanacaste, runway is planned to be about 900 meters (about 2,950 feet) and in close vicinity to Playa Brasilito. Aviación Civil, the country's aeronautical body, will be in charge of planning and constructing the new strip.

In the coming weeks, necessary permits will be filed and technical studies will be done. The project has an expected price tag of $1 million.

Security Minister Celso Gamboa and Oldemar Madrigal, the head of the ministry's air team, visited the property this weekend to inspect it. They also were joined by Wilhelm von Breymann, minister of Turismo; Carlos Segnini, minister of Obras Públicas y Transportes, and Vice President Ana Elena Chacón.

Ms. Chacón said the government has always
airport plans
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Seguridad Pública/Alonso Alvarez
Officials study the map of the proposed airport.

held onto the idea of making the popular tourist destination accessible to aircrafts, but this new donation from the Conchal businesses has allowed it to push the project into the foreground.

Besides Brasalito and Conchal, the coast is known for big-name beach spots like Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, and Playa Avellana.  Tamarindo already has an airport.

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