Puerto Rico Treasury: Nearly Half a Million Taxpayers Will Receive $1,200 Stimulus Check First
Taxpayers Who Filed 2019 Return Will be Notified Over Weekend; Secretary Awaits U.S. Treasury Authorization
SAN JUAN – The secretary of the Department of the Treasury, Francisco Parés Alicea, said Wednesday that, this coming weekend, some 486,000 Puerto Rico residents will begin to receive an email informing them that they are eligible to automatically receive the $1,200 in federal aid, which will be deposited in their bank accounts as soon as approval of the distribution plan is received from the U.S. Treasury.
“As we complete the agreements with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Treasury on the distribution of the Economic Impact Payment, we have already identified some 486,000 taxpayers who would receive approximately $800.1 million, in all likelihood, in the coming weeks. In a first phase of the process, the Unified Internal Revenue System [SURI by its Spanish acronym], identified the citizens who filed their Income Tax Return for 2019, who are ready to receive the aid,” the official said.
He said Puerto Rico’s Treasury continues to “synchronize the different databases” to identify the taxpayers who filed their 2018 return, who will receive the funds in the department’s second disbursement phase.
The secretary explained that, during the process to identify eligible taxpayers, some were found who must register the bank account into which their direct deposit will be made. For this, they will have to register it online, in SURI.
“The process is going to be simple, I already had the opportunity to see the demo of the digital tool and we are well ahead in the technological structure. The tool will be a quick link and will not require having an account [with SURI]. Taxpayers will simply have to answer some basic questions,” Parés said.
Regarding nonfilers and other groups, the official said an announcement would be made “in the next few days,” but that they will also have to use SURI to enter the bank account where they want the money deposited.
The official assured that final approval of the aid distribution plan is very close.
“Today, the IRS sent us a series of operational questions that were immediately answered by the Department of the Treasury. So far, they (IRS) estimate that they will send the revised Plan to the Treasury Department later this month for final approval,” he said.
The secretary said a letter was sent to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, as “requested by governor Wanda Vázquez Garced…where arguments were presented for why the IRS should pay the benefit directly to Social Security participants and veterans that do not file returns, which are the areas that remain to be determined,” according to the Puerto Rico Treasury’s release.
“The IRS continues to evaluate the operational feasibility of our proposal included in the draft Plan that we presented and that we elaborated on the letter sent to Secretary Mnuchin. There are other territories in this same situation and it is our priority that this plan required by the CARES [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security] Act be approved as soon as possible,” he stressed.
“When the federal Treasury approves the plan, we will immediately begin the disbursements, since we have the authorization of the Fiscal Oversight Board to use $400 million from the secretary’s account to advance payments and then request a refund,” Parés said.