Chandler, AZ asked in Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico

Q: My mom who is still alive, wants to donate her property and house in Puerto Rico but owes "CRIM", what can be done?

My mom lived in the property and she was still charged by "CRIM", even though it is her only property. She filed for an exemption which she never got an answer back from "CRIM". She wants to donate it to me before she dies and I think it is unfair they charged her taxes, what are her and my solutions?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Ramon  Olivencia
Ramon Olivencia
  • San Juan, PR
  • Licensed in Puerto Rico

A: The property tax exemption for residing at the main residence in Puerto Rico is not automatic. It has to be applied for and is only valid until a certain amount, although most residences in Puerto Rico, except the very expensive ones, qualify.

If she has a copy of the receipt of the original filing for when she bought the property (considering that she is the owner or co-owner with her husband, if any), then that is the best evidence for telling the CRIM to correct the error, if such was the case.

Typically, however, the closing attorney or bank, if any, is in charge of that, if the property was bought after 1991, which is when the CRIM was created.

If the form was never filed, then the property owner can always request a "retroactive" exemption, but there are a number of requisites, so an attorney is typically best at handling these situations.

As to a possible donation, the PR government needs to be sure first that there are no taxes, of any kind, owed before donating a property.

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
  • San Juan, PR
  • Licensed in Puerto Rico

A: If the property is your mother's primary residence, she'd need to verify whether an exemption was ever made. CRIM provides for an exemption if the real estate property (1) is the owner's primary residence; (2) the home value is <= $150,000; and (3) an exemption was requested from CRIM. Regardless of whether the property is to be sold or not, property taxes must be paid. At most, buyer and seller(s) can agree that seller(s) retain the property taxes owed from the sales price, in order to pay off the debt. Nevertheless, a seller has the right to require that all property taxes be paid before the sales closing occurs.

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