Saturday, September 19, 2020

Puerto Rico Treasury Completes Digitization of Internal Revenue System

By on February 27, 2020

Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés demonstrates SURI (Courtesy)

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés Alicea inaugurated Wednesday the third and final phase of the Unified Internal Revenue System (SURI by its Spanish acronym).

In a Treasury release that called the development the beginning of a new digital era for the agency, Parés said: “In line with the best practices in the world, SURI allows us to redefine our tax administration philosophy by perfecting services with their integration into the digital platform. With the culmination of the third phase of SURI, the efforts of taxpayers are simplified and the voluntary compliance with tax responsibilities is fostered.”

After four years and an about $40 million investment, Treasury said it has finally unify multiple digital platforms within the SURI application, “including three of the largest and most important tax tools”: PRITAS, with which the tax on income of corporations and other legal entities was handled; REFO, which was used to manag individuals’ returns; and PICO, which handled the sales and use tax (IVU by its Spanish acronym).

“Today is a very important day because, by digitizing the tax system, Puerto Rico get on equal footing with more than 25 states of our Nation of the United States and other jurisdictions in Europe and Asia,” Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced was quoted as saying in Treasury’s announcement. “The transformation of the technological infrastructure is one of our main goals in the search for greater efficiency in all the services we offer to citizens. I will be grateful and will follow up so the disbursement of the reimbursements is worked on and are granted in an expedited manner for the benefit of all our taxpayers.”

Parés added that the development has given his department greater visibility regarding the transactions carried out by individuals and businesses.

“Without a doubt, being able to monitor behavior and compliance through SURI—live and constantly—is helping us to be more effective in collections, in addition to having a more efficient system for taxpayers to carry out their transactions automatically and without the need to visit the Department,” the official said.

Among the most important tax types that were integrated into the platform in this third phase, are the income tax of individuals, corporations and other legal entities.

The official explained that, in the case of individuals, it allows them to verify the status of their return and their reimbursement, make different types of payments, including paying the tax return, estimated payment and deferred payment, file and amend the return and file an extension request, among other transactions.

“SURI makes taxpayers the owners of their file, with all its history, so they can access it as many times as necessary, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” the secretary said.

The implementation of SURI began in October 2016 with the integration of IVU transactions. In December 2018, transactions related to source withholdings, estate and donations, excise taxes and those on alcohol, as well as Internal Revenue Licensing rights were integrated.

Treasury contracted Fast Enterprises, a Colorado-based tax technology company, to develop and implement the system using the GenTax software. The contract included the design of the various tax type integrations and the transfer of information to SURI, using the Gen Tax application. Fast also trained Treasury staff and will provide maintenance services.

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