Tax collection agency pulls a fast one on sales tax reports

In another example of the government slogan “We make easy hard,” the tax collecting agency has quietly changed the rules on presenting sales tax reports and now requires citizens to have a personal computer with a special download.

Hundreds of expats were left in the lurch when banks refused to accept the three part D-104 form that has been used in the past. Workers at the Dirección General de Tributación warned those who complained that they had to file the paperwork by the end of business Wednesday or be subjected to a 64,000-colón fine, about $128.

Tributación is the same agency in charge of collecting the luxury home tax and will be involved in any new taxes passed by the legislature, except the tax on corporations, which will be sent to the Registro Nacional.

Efforts to teleohone Tributación officials Wednesday afternoon were met with a recording of “Ode to Joy.”

The decree making the change was published in the La Gaceta official newspaper June 15 and covers tax reports for July and thereafter. The decree was by Francisco Villalobos Brenes, director general.

The tax collecting department has updated its EDDI-7 online system to handle Windows 7. Those who use Macintosh or other computers that do not run a Microsoft
operating system are out of luck. The agency decided to have taxpayers download the programs rather than using a more modern Web-based program.

Tributación workers said that in addition to the La Gaceta publication, ads were taken in a few Spanish-language newspapers. There were no press releases that were received by A.M. Costa Rica. There was no advertising in English. There was no distribution of the decree, except, perhaps, to accountancy organizations.

Strangely after a taxpayer has downloaded the programs and filled out the form, it still must be printed and hand carried to a bank for filing. Eventually the EDDI system will accept the filings online but not now.

Downloads appeared to be taking hours Wednesday afternoon because the agency’s computers could barely handle the demand. The programs need 200 megabytes of space on individual computers. The agency said that disks containing the program are available at its offices.

In addition to the monthly report on sales tax collection, the system also must now be used for the annual income tax report.

The agency said that the EDDi system automatically calculates taxes due for companies and individuals.
Tributación placed a small notice on its Web site about the change.

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