Puerto Rico Treasury Begins to Disburse Business Interruption Grants
Relief fund of $65 million targets small businesses affected by the pandemic
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés Alicea announced Thursday that the first disbursements to small businesses have already been made under the Business Interruption Grant (BIG).
About 17,000 small businesses were prequalified, including restaurants, bars, diners, gyms, venues, theaters and other recreational areas.
Parés said the goal of the program is to support businesses that did not qualify for other aid pandemic related aid.
“We have already disbursed $11,892,16 to 2,124 small merchants eligible for this program, which began receiving applications just last Friday. The BIG assistance project has $65 million that we will be disbursing as we receive the documentation required in the guidelines,” Parés said in a release issued by his department.
The selected businesses had less than $3 million in sales during 2020 and were operating as of March 15. The secretary said they were identified according to the information in their Merchant Registry, their North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code and the total sales reported in the monthly sales and use tax (IVU by its Spanish acronym) forms, filed for the 12 months of 2020.
“The small pre-qualified merchants were informed through their SURI [Spanish acronym for Unified Internal Revenue System] accounts and, those who have not yet acted, remember you must submit the information using the platform. Five thousand dollars in aid will be awarded to merchants without employees; $8,000 for those with up to two [employees] and $15,000 for those with up to six people working,” Parés said.
He added that applicants can claim expenses and losses incurred during the pandemic related to “inventory, personal protection equipment and to promoted health and safety, payroll costs, rent, technology to facilitate e-commerce, professional services acquired, such as design and construction of environments to maintain physical distance and cleaning and disinfection services, among other operational costs incurred between March 15, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2021.”
For additional information, business owners can access Internal Revenue Circular Letter 21-04, available at www.hacienda.pr.gov.