Tax collecting agency changes rules on reporting transactions

Once again the word from the tax collectors is never mind.

A change in policy now means that the D-151 form that lists income and expenses for the last fiscal year does not have to be presented by Wednesday.

In the past, Nov.30 was the deadline for filing this document.

The Dirección General de Tributación, the tax agency, would use these forms to check up on deductions and income of other taxpayers.

They still will, but the form is not required for most persons now until Feb. 29. That is according to a decree published Sept. 13.

Francisco Villalobos Brenes, the director of the tax collecting agency, said that his staffers have met with accountants and associations of accountants to explain the new procedure. However the Tributación Web page still contains the old information.

And a private accountant told a reporter Monday that she only learned of the change when she showed up at the Tributación offices in Barrio Don Bosco and saw a big sign posted on a wall.

However, there was a mention of the change on the Tributación Facebook page. The message was posted Friday and included an excerpt from the Sept. 13 decree.

Villalobos, himself, said in a La Nación op-ed piece last week that 18,000 taxpayers last year filed returns that did not match what others had said they paid.

Among these certainly were professionals, like lawyers and medical practitioners. The Contraloría General de la República, in a study of tax-collecting procedures, reported last week that some 63 percent of the professionals who filed a tax return in 2010 said they had no income.

Tributación is moving toward full reporting by computer. The D-151 form was hand-written, and workers at Tributación had to put the information in a data base. With online reporting via the agency’s computer system, the work will go quicker and tax cheats will be identified sooner.

Already the monthly sales tax reports have to be generated by computer, but they still are submitted manually to banks for payment of the tax.

Villalobos has tackled the job aggressively. He has been there less than a year, but already has snagged professional soccer players who did not file luxury home taxes and who played games with the income tax.  He said Monday night that he would ask Web page technicians to replace the faulty information.

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