CRIM (Puerto Rico)

What is CRIM?

The Municipal Revenue Collection Center (CRIM) is the Puerto Rico government agency in charge of collecting property taxes.

How is CRIM's property tax paid?

Generally, when a real estate property has a mortgage, the financial institution is responsible for sending the payment, if any, directly to the CRIM. To do this, the bank or credit union usually pays the debt from an account known as an escrow account. This accountis funded by the taxes you make to the mortgage.

When there is no mortgage, CRIM is supposed to send you a semi-annual invoice to your mailing address, i.e., every 6 months. Therefore, it is important that the CRIM has your current contact information. Payment to CRIM is required as long as you have not been granted a tax exemption.

What tax exemption can the principal residence have?

In Puerto Rico the principal residence is exempt from property taxes up to a certain amount of value. This exoneration, or exemption, however, is not automatic, but is usually requested at the time the property is acquired. The maximum exemption is calculated on the basis of a special formula that dates back several decades. At the moment, the exemption is up to $15,000 of the value of the property according to the internal method used by the CRIM. It is important to note that this value is not equivalent to the market price but to the CRIM formula.

For example, a property with a market value of $100,000 is likely to be fully exempt. However, the tax rate varies by municipality, with the average being 10%. This percentage would be the amount to be paid, if any, when a property exceeds the value assigned according to CRIM's internal formula. In other words, the market value is not the same as the value used by the CRIM to assess the properties.

Depending on the town you are in, any excess over the $15,000 value will be charged to the homeowner. In other words, even if you have a principal residence exemption, if you live in a home over a certain value, you will be required to pay the excess.

What is the value of my property as assigned by CRIM?

If you would like to know the value that the CRIM assigns to your property, we can arrange for you to receive a Certification of Valueusing the Social Security number in whose name the property is registered.

What happens when there is an exempt residence and the owner dies or does not live there?

Even if a residence has already been approved for CRIM exemption, the exemption expires when the owner dies. The same occurs when the owner ceases to have the property as a principal residence. This means that when the property is transferred to the heirs or the new owner, the CRIM will retroactively collect any amount owed.

This debt, in case there is one, will be for the years prior to the death (in case of inheritance) or the move (in case of purchase and sale) and will include interest and penalties. Therefore, it is very important that, in cases of inheritance, the Transfer of Inheritance is initiated as soon as possible. At Abogado Notario Online we can take care of these legal procedures.

How can I make sure my primary residence is exempt?

In order for the principal residence exemption to apply, it is necessary for the owner to have signed an Application for Tax Exemption. Such an application is normally submitted to the CRIM at the time of a sale, particularly when it is made by means of a mortgage. That is, the custom is that the financial institution is responsible for submitting the application to the CRIM. However, in those transactions without a mortgage, it is the owner's responsibility to verify that the exoneration has been submitted.

Sometimes, if the application was never filed, aRetroactive Exemption Application can be prepared. To be on the safe side, if you want to know if you have the tax exemption, we can process the above Certification of Value.

It is important to note that the exemption will remain in place as long as the owner maintains the property as a principal residence. In other words, once the owner moves, the CRIM could then revoke the exemption retroactively. This is unless the move is temporary, for medical reasons, work or studies.

What should I do if I buy a second property?

In case you acquire a second property, which you will not use as your main residence, it is necessary to file a Change of Ownership Application. In this way, the CRIM will be able to calculate your property tax liability.

Remember that the exemption referred to above is for the primary residence only. Failure to submit a Change of Ownership Application may result in negative consequences. In this case, the agency may charge you not only back taxes but also interest and penalties.

How can I find out my CRIM property number?

CRIM uses a "cadastre" system for the management of real property in Puerto Rico. This cadastre is equivalent to a database in which a unique number is assigned to each real estate property. To search for your property you can go to the CRIM Digital Cadastre. On the other hand, if your property is not registered with the CRIM or does not yet have a cadastre number, it is important that you register it to avoid fines and penalties.

How reliable is the information in the CRIM Digital Cadastre?

It is important to note that the CRIM is only an agency for the collection of real property in Puerto Rico. The only government agency that grants title to real property in Puerto Rico is the Property Registry.

Therefore, even when a person's name appears in the CRIM Digital Cadastre, it does not necessarily mean that he or she is the only official owner. That is why it is important that, as part of the inheritance proceedings, the attorney submits at the end, in most cases, the Request for Change of Ownership so that CRIM can update its database. In other words, unfortunately, the information contained in the Property Registry is not necessarily the same as the information that the CRIM has.

In inheritances, the CRIM generally only puts the name of the first heir that is indicated in the referred Request for Change of Ownership so that it appears publicly in the Digital Cadastre. In said database, he/she is generally identified under the name of "buyer", even if there has only been one transfer of inheritance.

In addition, it is important to note that the information available in the Digital Cadastre commonly contains errors in names and other data, such as those related to references to the Land Registry. For this reason, it is important that you hire a lawyer who has full access to the different steps that can be performed in such agency. At Abogado Notario Online we specifically have the credentials to access the CRIM through what is known as the "Corporate and Banking Services".

What services do we offer about CRIM?

At the moment, we only offer the service of obtaining the various CRIM certifications that are required as part of various governmental procedures in Puerto Rico.

If you wish to make a brief inquiry, you can send us a message through our Contact Form, choosing "CRIM" as the subject.

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