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Employers affected by hurricanes in Puerto Rico to be granted federal credit

By on February 14, 2018

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced Wednesday an agreement in principle with the U.S. Treasury Department that will allow employers who were not able to operate their businesses after hurricanes Irma and Maria to claim a credit of up to $2,400 for each employee paid during that period.

The agreement, known as the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), will be made available to employers by filling out an online form, after which the government will disburse the funds directly through the employers’ bank accounts. The retroactive payments are taxable.

In order to be eligible, employers must have had an active business or company on Sept. 4 “within the declared disaster zones of Hurricane Irma; and that had not been operational any day after September 4, 2017 and before January 1, 2018, as a result of the damages caused by Hurricane Irma,” as well as employers who “suffered the same kind of losses after Hurricane Maria,” from Sept. 16 and before Jan. 1., according to a release issued by the governor’s office.

As for employees, the relief applies to those whose “main source of income were located in the disaster zones of Hurricane Irma on September 4, 2017; or in the disaster zones of Hurricane Maria on September 16, 2017. People hired after September 16 are not eligible,” the release says.

The eligible salaries are all for “compensation of services. This includes commissions, bonuses, and the cash value of the remuneration paid in any method not paid in cash; payments to employees for vacation or sick leave.”

The governor’s office said the Puerto Rico Treasury led the effort and designed the plan following conversations between the Resident Commissioner Jennifer González and the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) with the U.S. Treasury. It complies with Section 504(d)(1)(B) of the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act.

“We would like to thank the federal Government for approving the implementation plan designed by our Administration to be able to provide financial support to Puerto Ricans who continue to recover from both hurricanes,” Rosselló said.

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