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It is quite possible that he would have to pay a capital gains tax in the US since he has been paying taxes here. In addition, there are property taxes that have to be paid in Costa Rica.
There is a description of the various taxes at http://www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com/frequently-asked-questions and at http://www.ticotimes.net/realestate/2015/01/taxes-you-need-to-know-about-when-living-in-costa-rica/
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