Accountants say tax agency’s Web program is intimidating, confusing

Several government agencies use specialized computer software to receive reports from citizens.

They also seem to update and change the software without any notice.  Such was the case Tuesday with the Instituto Nacional de Seguros. Employers have to report wages paid to their workers so the institute can figure the premium for the riesgo de trabajo or workman’s compensation insurance.

Never mind that exactly the same information is reported online to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

The technicians at the institute known as INS made substantial changes in the software, and those trying to use the system Tuesday had to obtain a new user name and password.

There is a bigger problem at the Ministerio de Hacienda. That agency receives sales tax reports each month electronically and also receives the annual tax return that way. Hacienda also hosts the most unresponsive Web page in local government.

No less an organization than the Colegio de Contadores Públicos said Tuesday that the new system that Hacienda has installed is confusing to the average person. It still is confusing even after Hacienda workers tried to fix the problem, the accountants said.

Hacienda uses the Programa para la Elaboración Digital de Declaraciones de Impuestos, known as the EDDI-7. But the technicians also are continually updating that program.

The national accountant’s organization issued the comments as a form of a warning and said that the existing platform is likely to intimidate users. The accountants included some screen shots that were, if not intimidating, inscrutable.

The responsible agency is really the  Dirección General de Tributación  the tax collector.

Accountants are meeting today with tax agency staffers to learn about new rules issued by Hacienda and Tributación. The new rules are designed to improve collection.

The annual income tax report and payment, if any, are due Dec. 15.

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