Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Puerto Rico Treasury announces payment plan moratorium, pushes back filing deadlines

By on March 18, 2020

The Puerto Rico Treasury building in San Juan (CB file)

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés Alicea announced a payment plan moratorium amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) emergency measures ordered by the governor, while the deadline for filing tax returns and documentation will be pushed back one month.

“Taxpayers who have any debt under a department payment plan will not be obligated to make installments for such plans that are due in the period between March 16 and April 30,” the Treasury chief said in a press release. “In these cases, we will not impose fines, interest or penalties, for any noncompliance.”

Parés said that deadline for the filing of business and individual tax documentation and Internal Revenue licenses and payment plans have been pushed back one month.

Among the series of measures to deal with the economic disruption posed by the spread of the highly infectious virus in her state of emergency declaration last week, Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced announced that the April 15 commonwealth income tax filing date was pushed back to May 15.

The Treasury chief said the deadline for filing informative returns for tax year 2019 has been pushed back to April 15, without the application of penalties.

Filings and payments for the sales and use tax (IVU by its Spanish initials) due between March 15 and March 31, as well as deadlines for filings of returns, payments and deposits for all taxes managed by the Treasury that are due between March 15 and April 15 have also been pushed back a month, Parés said.

Moreover, the validity of Internal Revenue bonds or licenses with expiration dates between March 15 and March 31 will be extended until April 30, he said.

“We continue to evaluate the deadlines and expirations of the different tax commitments that citizens have with the [Treasury] Department, with the aim of adjusting to the situations we have experienced since the start of the year 2020, with the earthquakes that affected many municipalities, the impact of Covid-19 on the country and the recent curfew and the closing of establishments approved by [Gov. Wanda Vázquez] as a preventive measure to control the spread of the virus,” Parés said.

He said the latest measures are contained in Internal Revenue Informative Bulletin 20-08, Administrative Determination 20-04 and Internal Revenue Circular Letter 20-20, which can be accessed on the agency’s website www.hacienda.pr.gov, under the Publications section.

Parés said all Treasury and internal revenue offices, tax filing and help centers, and 360 Service Centers will be closed until March 30. He urged taxpayers to carry out their transactions on Treasury’s online system (SURI by its Spanish acronym), at www.suri.hacienda.pr.gov.

“We will continue processing of tax returns and paying tax refunds as they are completed automatically in our SURI digital platform,” he said.

Treasury services that can be done online include obtaining certifications of debt and tax filings, status of tax refunds, applications for debt payment plans, making different types of payments (including estimated and deferred payments, and extension payments), requests for income tax filing extensions, sending of tax filing evidence, and filing and amending tax returns.

In addition, Parés assured the entry of merchandise into the island’s ports will continue as usual, pursuant to the curfew/lockdown executive order issued Sunday by the governor.

Businessowners and importers will be able to declare and process their merchandise through SURI, the Treasury chief said, assuring that “personnel to address the applications and any situation that could come up at the ports” have been assigned.

Federal tax payment deadline pushed back

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Steven Mnuchin announced Tuesday that taxpayers will get a three-month reprieve to pay federal taxes they owe for 2019; however, they must still file their returns by April 15.

As part of its coronavirus response, the federal government will give filers 90 days to pay income taxes due on up to $1 million in tax owed, Mnuchin said in a White House news conference. The reprieve on that amount would cover many pass-through entities and small businesses, he said.

Corporate filers would get the same length of time to pay amounts due up to $10 million in taxes owed, Mnuchin said. During the three-month deferral period, taxpayers will not be subject to interest and penalties, he said.

The U.S. Treasury chief said taxpayers should file their 2019 federal income tax returns by April 15 to get tax refunds in a timely manner. About 81 percent of income tax returns processed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as of March 6 received tax refunds averaging $3,012.

Some U.S. states such as California and Maryland have rolled out tax filing delays due to the Covid-19 crisis.  

—Caribbean Business news services contributed to this report.

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