Sunday, October 11, 2009

Electronic Failures & Inefficiencies

Several days ago, I came across an interesting statistic in the local paper. According to the article "Reintegros Más Rápidos," (translation: "Faster Tax Refunds) only 3% of the tax returns in Puerto Rico from 2008 were filed online. In comparison to the U.S, where nearly 60% of the tax returns from 2008 were filed electronically. Perhaps it's not fair to compare these two figures, due to the difference in economic development,cultural factors, internet connectivity, etc. There are many other reasons why the majority of Puerto Ricans do not use the Internet to do financial transactions, whether it be tax filing or payments.

The lack of trust in the local government is a serious problem here in Puerto Rico, especially now more than ever. From personal experience, when making payments to the local tax and revenue department (Dept. de Hacienda), or property tax (CRIM), it's much safer and efficient making them in person. When it's impossible for me to physically deliver it, I would send it via certified mail. One of my tasks at work requires me to make monthly tax payments, which I actually still do online. However, I've learned (the very hard and expensive way) how inefficient the electronic payment system at el departamento de hacienda is. Despite receiving confirmation numbers for the payments I had made, months later, I received a notice indicating that the transactions never took place. To make a long story short, the information technology systems used by the local government are not the most advanced.


Anonymous said...

Puerto Rico, both government and private industry, is very cavalier about personal information security. Whether it is demanding social security numbers or rudimentary information security practices, PR fails.

Puerto Ricans are justified in their lack of trust due to the nonfeasance of their public officials to protect their information.

adriana said...

Hello Anonymous,

Absolutely agree with you. Ironically, Hacienda tries to encourage people to do more transactions online when they don't even have the necessary resources or security measures to process such transactions.