Puerto Rico’s Economic Reliefs Announced

March 24 2020

On March 23, 2020, the governor of Puerto Rico announced a $787 million financial package intended to ease the economic consequences stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak by providing various incentives to different sectors of the economy.

As we expect additional details, we’ve compiled a summary of the measures and incentives proposed for your benefit.

  • Continuance of salary payments to public sector employees who are part of the central government
  • Postponement of income tax due date period until July 15, 2020
  • Suspension of the collection of the Sales and Use Tax (SUT) at the docks and in the resale chain for the following 3 months 
  • Suspension of the 10% withholding at source for professional services for the next 3 months
  • No penalties for non-compliance of the biweekly SUT payment and the payments for the first installments of the estimated tax
  • Contribution of $500 to all self-employed workers. These workers will need to provide their bank account details to Puerto Rico Treasury Department via SURI.
  • Contribution of $1,500 for all small and medium-sized companies (PYMES) that have ceased operations as a result of COVID-19, have 50 employees or less, and do not qualify for federal aid
  • Bonus of up to $4,000 for all nurses in the public and private sector
  • Bonus of up to $2,500 for health technicians
  • Contribution of up to $4,000 for emergency medical response personnel
  • Contribution of up to $3,500 for police, firefighters, and correctional officers
  • Moratorium on payments for water and electricity services
  • No charge of tolls on roads during the emergency period
  • 90 days moratoriums for the payment of mortgages, autos, personal and commercial loans, and credit cards. The process to obtain the moratorium is not automatic. Thus, for it to apply, the individual must call the financial institution and request the moratorium.

Unemployment Benefits extends to self-employed individuals

The Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources will coordinate with the federal government to offer unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals. The PR government will do the same for workers who are ordered to take unpaid leave and do not qualify for unemployment payments or sick leave. The unemployment benefit is extensive for part-time workers who have worked in at least two quarters of the basic period.

The Government also announced additional incentives for key economic sectors as follows:

  • $240 million will be awarded to the Department of Education for the purchase of tablets, software and training to promote distance education.
  • Availability of $30 million dollars to be distributed over a 2 months period to assist in the purchase of equipment in public hospitals, to replenish all purchases in response to the emergency related to COVID-19.
  • Availability of $20 million dollars for the purchase of equipment necessary for the security component of the Department of Public Security, the Police of Puerto Rico, such as gloves, masks and hand sanitizers, among others.
  • Availability of $50 million dollars to be distributed over a 2 months period, for losses that may have affected the municipal governments in light of the emergency.

We will continue to update on any key information from the local and federal authorities.