Property taxes in Puerto Rico are destined to and are managed by an agency which is under the control of the mayors of towns across Puerto Rico. This agency is generally known and referred to as “CRIM” which is the acronym for its name in Spanish.
Puerto Rico does not have the county system enjoyed by most states across the USA. We do have towns each with its own mayor, city council and various branches that deliver waste collection, maintenance, local police and the like. These towns organize and manage the property tax system, since property taxes provide the funds used by the towns of Puerto Rico.
Property taxes in Puerto Rico is a regular issues presented by clients of the law firm. The source of these issues is usually: (1) the inefficiency of the system; and (2) the reality that it is a complicated system.
In the past, there was one additional issue which is now resolved. This was the absence of bilingual employees at the property tax agency. Nowadays, the agency has an 800 number with bilingual employees regularly available. Please visit www.crimpr.net for introductory information on their services. In fact, if you have a current situation with your property taxes in Puerto Rico, I encourage you to contact this number 888-770-2746 and attempt to resolve your matter through a representative.
The inefficiency of the system has many complex causes, but here are a few of them.
CRIM has an advanced satellite images of Puerto Rico, which allow for the precise location and identification of any property in Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, this system is based on information provided by the land permitting agency and not by the Puerto Rico Property Registry. Hence, you have three agencies overseeing properties, but the manner in which these records are kept is specific to each agency.
Since the CRIM records are based on the land permit authority records, the CRIM records are usually outdated.
Since the CRIM records work independently to the records of the Puerto Rico Property Registry, the taxes are not being assessed and collected in accordance to the present time status of the records at the Puerto Rico Property Registry.
The records at the Puerto Rico Property Registry are the ones relied upon by banks, mortgage bankers and other entities to grant loans. CRIM records are important, since lender do not want to become involved with properties which could be executed by the CRIM for lack of payment of property taxes. When CRIM records show that the property taxes are not up to date or properly assessed, lenders ordinarily prefer not to grant loans to be guaranteed with property reflecting tax issues.
Accordingly, property tax payer’s problems with CRIM usually require documents only available at the property registry or at the land use permit authority. Since all real estate transactions require that the status of property taxes be checked prior to executing the closing, real estate law firms and brokers have had the need to become involved in identifying and resolving property tax issues.