Second Round of Economic Impact Payments Begin to be Deposited
$600 for Individuals, $600 for Dependents; SURI Unavailable Jan. 20
SAN JUAN — Gov. Pedro Pierluisi announced Tuesday that the disbursement process has begun to provide residents of Puerto Rico $600 as pandemic relief after the U.S. Treasury Department approved the local distribution plan for the second round of Economic Impact Payments.
“With great satisfaction I inform you that we already have the authorization from the federal government to implement the additional $600 Economic Impact Payment distribution plan and today (Tuesday) the first payments are going out and will be reflected in the bank accounts of thousands of citizens over the next few days,” Pierluisi said in a statement. “I must acknowledge the work of Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés and his team, who were able to formalize the agreements with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and achieved approval within 23 days after the federal legislation was signed into law. There is no doubt that this aid will be a relief for many families who have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 emergency and we will be working diligently to complete disbursements in the shortest amount of time.”
On Dec. 28, only hours after the Covid-Related Tax Relief Act of 2020 (CRTRA) was signed by President Trump, making way for the second round of $600 payments, the Puerto Rico Treasury Department submitted a draft distribution plan to the IRS. The plan for the first Economic Impact Payment, which was of $1,200, took 36 days to be approved by the federal government.
“Within 23 days of submitting our proposed draft to the IRS, we already have a federal Treasury-approved distribution plan and within hours of receiving that authorization we begin the process of sending payments of $600,” Parés said. “As we go ahead, this disbursement process will be much faster because in 95 percent of cases, the Treasury Department already has the necessary banking information to make the direct deposit. We have established a work plan that includes hundreds of thousands of consecutive payments, almost on a daily basis, over the next few weeks.”
The new relief package will reach about 2.8 million people, either as individuals, couples or dependents, representing a total of nearly $1.7 billion.
Parés Alicea estimated that most payments, which will be $600 per individual and $600 per qualified dependent, or $300 in joint custody cases, will be completed by mid-February.
“In three or four weeks, 95 percent of people who qualify for this new aid will have their money deposited or their check pending,” he assured.
As established by the federal law, these additional $600 payments will be received by individuals with a valid Social Security who have been residing in Puerto Rico during the last tax year and who have not been claimed as dependents on another person’s income tax form.
Under the new CRTRA Act, eligibility guidelines make certain areas more flexible for more citizens to qualify. For example, under this distribution plan, incarcerated people may be eligible to receive the payment. No withholding will be made for outstanding debts with the Family Department’s Child Support Administration (Asume by its Spanish acronym).
In the case of married couples, at least one of them will be required to have a Social Security number that matches IRS records.
IVU Filing Postponed
Parés also said that the online internal revenue system (SURI by its Spanish acronym) will be operating Wednesday, Jan. 20, exclusively with the distribution of the federal aid; therefore, it will not be available for any other transactions for at least 24 hours.
“Aware of people’s need to receive payment of the $600, we will prioritize the deposit of this money, momentarily preventively suspending all services offered through SURI,” Parés added. “This way, we are also protecting the system to avoid further setbacks and to ensure that we successfully meet this extraordinary fund-distribution agenda. Starting Thursday, Jan. 21, SURI will be up and running.”
SURI’s interruption coincides with the date established for the monthly sales and use tax (IVU by its Spanish acronym) form, submitted by businesses on the 20th of each month. However, Parés noted that both the IVU form and the corresponding payment, as well as any other declaration, notification, appeal or any other process or tax payment whose due date is Jan. 20 has been extended through Jan. 25.
The Treasury chief reiterated that most people who received the first stimulus payment do not have to do any paperwork at SURI if they still have the same bank account. On the other hand, he stressed that there is a link available on SURI for those who changed their bank account after receiving the $1,200, either as a result of the recent merger between two banks or because they opened new bank accounts. The link is also available to those who received the first payment of $1,200 by check and want to receive the additional $600 via direct deposit.
Citizens do not need to register with SURI to change their account number. It can be accessed through the federal Economic Impact Payment link at the main website: suri.hacienda.pr.gov and then in the link that says update account information. For further assistance, write through the SURI support link.
For more details, visit www.hacienda.pr.gov.