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CPAs: Glitches with CRIM’s website prevent filing property taxes

The Puerto Rico Society of CPAs raised concerns about the numerous problems surfacing with the Municipal Revenues Collection Center’s (CRIM, in Spanish) new online platform — CRIM 360 — which they say have hindered and prevented thousands of citizens and accounting professionals from filing the property tax returns for 2021.

They warned that the online problems “affect taxpayer pockets” and urged the entity’s Board to approve an extension in the payment of the property tax return through Nov. 15, 2022.

In a letter sent to CRIM Executive Director Reinaldo Paniagua, the CPAs outlined the CRIM 360’s most frequent problems, including that the platform calculates discounts that are not applicable; incorrect payment histories; it does not compute corresponding discounts; payments made are not reflected; it does not calculate discounts even when payment with extension is included; it does not calculate penalties and if discounts; it does not allow reporting estimates; payments with extensions are not reported in the website; problems with document printing; and it does not report amounts and total sums.

The entity has yet to correct many of them yet, despite the collaboration by volunteers CPAs, who for months have identified and reported situations related to the platform, said Puerto Rico Society of CPAs President Oscar E. Cullen-Ramos.

“The Puerto Rico Society of CPAs believes that forcing taxpayers to follow the process established in the CRIM’s Circular Letter 2020-004 and be forced to file a return with errors due to problems in the programming of systems is not a sound tax administration practice,” he said.

“This situation increases compliance costs and affects the taxpayers’ right to due process of law,” said Cullen-Ramos, in a letter sent to Paniagua on Aug. 4.

In the letter, the professional group outlined some of the website’s problems. As it, the process “will result in multiple claims that will have to be dealt with subsequently before the CRIM by the taxpayers or their representatives at an additional cost,” he said.

The Puerto Rico Society of CPAs is asking the government agency to provide a system that allows the proper filing of the tax forms.

“Unfortunately, for the original filing date last May, the CRIM did not have a system that could adequately process such forms. Worse yet, a few days before the expiration of the filing extension, they haven’t yet provided taxpayers with an adequate platform to be able to file the returns,” he said.

The Puerto Rico Society of CPAs initially raised red flags over the problems in the online platform July 20, which led to the publishing of Circular Letter 2020-004, which Cullen-Ramos said did not fully solve the problems.

Instead, the CRIM stated in the Circular Letter that it had included a Service Sheet in the platform that users would have to fill out to report situations in the tax filing process, all before Aug. 16.

The Circular Letter further stated that, if the CRIM’s online system is found to be responsible for the error, the discounts that apply to the taxpayer will be honored. The agency also established that it adjusted the programming to honor the 5% discount to all taxpayers who made estimated payments.

However, the CPAs insist the Service Sheet does not solve the problems and could worsen the situation in the coming months.

“Taxpayers have been forced to submit evidence and documents to justify payments and credits for which the CRIM has not issued a communication or other official document that is questioning said amounts through a formal process, or through a notification, investigation, or audit,” said Cullen-Ramos.

“It is important to call attention to the fact that this process entails that taxpayers and return preparers must spend substantial time in completing the Service Sheet for all cases in which they’re seeing errors in programming when there are only eight days left for the due date,” he said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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