Finance ministry claims success in use of new electronic system

The finance ministry said that 390,000 taxpayers filed electronic annual returns via the new Administración Tributaria Virtual system.

What the ministry did not say is that plenty of taxpayers had to stand in long lines to get appointments to fix errors that had been introduced into the new system.

The Ministerio de Hacienda mandated the use of the new system Oct. 4. It was used that month to receive sales tax returns and other electronic documents.

Tuesday was the deadline for filing annual tax returns without penalty. But when a lot of taxpayers tried to do so last week they found that the computer rejected them for one reason or another.

Consequently they had to stand in line at various offices of the Hacienda’s Dirección General de Tributación. At some places the lines were blocks long.

There was an incentive to do so. Failing to file a return draws a penalty of 201,700 colons, about $384.

Just like the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the local tax collectors are not known for their sense of humor.

The ministry said that 21 percent more returns were received in the last four months than in the same period a year ago.

Tuesday also was the deadline for reports of November sales tax, and there were 78,211 of these, said the ministry.

Those who use the new system report that it is better than the previous version which was updated periodically.  That version resided on the computer of a user and required a long download to use. The new system is Web-based.

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