Thursday, July 2, 2020

Puerto Rico Treasury opens coronavirus aid applications for small, midsize business

By on June 4, 2020

Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash

Payments of either $5,000 or $10,000 ‘will be granted on first-come, first-served basis’

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés Alicea announced that the department’s online Unified Internal Revenue System (SURI by its Spanish acronym) will include a link Friday for small and midsize enterprises to request Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (Cares) Act funds.

The incentives approved for SMEs will be of $5,000 for businesses that had two to 49 employees on payroll in March, and of $10,000 for companies whose number of employees that month ranged from 50 to 500. Businesses must have their Merchant Registration Certificate valid as of May 16, Treasury said in its news release.

“On May 23, 2020, the Disbursement Oversight Committee for the Coronavirus Relief Fund approved the guidelines for the small and medium-sized business assistance program, as established by Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced’s Strategic Plan and in accordance with this, we issued the Internal Revenue Circular Letter 20-26, to establish the way and manner in which the economic incentives will be distributed starting this Friday, June 5,” Parés said in the statement.

All business types are eligible.

“In the case of individuals who are self-employed and in turn are employers eligible for SME Aid for the number of employees on their payroll, they may request this benefit even if they received the $1,000 Aid to Self-Employed People payment, as established in the Strategic Plan. However, in these cases the individuals will receive $4,000, in cases considered a Small Business, and $9,000, in the case of being considered a Medium Business,” the official explained.

As part of the application, businesses must certify that the aid will be used to compensate for economic losses stemming from the interruption of operations due to the COVID-19 emergency or for related expenses.

Parés added that the aid cannot be used to pay bonuses to executives, refinance debt or certain other expenses. In addition, any amount that is not used by Dec. 30 “or is determined to have been misused, must be returned to the Department,” the release reads.

“The financial aid will not be used for payroll expenses if the SME has received, will receive, or plans to apply for and receive aid under the Private Sector Payroll Protection Program under the Strategic Plan, and they must commit to comply with all other terms and conditions of the program,” Parés said.

Applicants must submit a copy of Form 941 (PR), Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return (Puerto Rican Version), for the quarter ended March 31, along with evidence of filing with the Internal Revenue Service.

In the case of SMEs that have not filed their return for the quarter ended March 31,the department will use the information provided in the previous quarterly filing to determine their eligibility for the aid, based on the number of employees reported.

The aid “will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis” and will be available “until the funds allocated for these incentives under the Strategic Plan are exhausted,” the department, known as Hacienda, said.

For more details, the guides are available at: http://www.aafaf.pr.gov/assets/guide-crf-small-medium-sized-bus-grants-prog.pdf. You can also access Circular Letter 20-26 on the Department’s page, www.hacienda.pr.gov.