Tax Incentive Association Launches to Promote Puerto Rico
Nonprofit Looks to Foster Economic Development By Educating About Incentives Code
SAN JUAN — On Wednesday, Feb. 19, a team of economic development experts from Puerto Rico announced the launch of the Tax Incentives Association (TIA), a nonprofit created to educate, investigate and analyze economic results and foster the island’s development by attracting investment.
During its inaugural conference at coworking network Piloto 151’s Old San Juan location, members of the organization’s board presented TIA’s mission to representatives from sectors that promote economic development, including lawmakers, members of commonwealth investment promotion agency Invest Puerto Rico, banking execs and representatives from the film, healthcare, real estate, investment, private equity and technology industries.
“If there’s one thing I want to clarify is that the tax incentives are not only available to foreigners. Tax incentives are designed to promote creation of businesses and economic activity in Puerto Rico, regardless of the nationality of the owners. Any Puerto Rican that establishes an eligible business can apply for the incentives. Only one incentive is for new residents of Puerto Rico and those new residents can be Puerto Ricans that are coming back home,” said Jeanelle Alemar-Escabí, founder of consulting firm JAE-CE and spokesperson for TIA.
In a press release, TIA said its vision is to “have Puerto Rico’s tax incentives as the cornerstone of the island’s offer for incentive attraction and the engine of its economic recovery.”
Event attendees were given a general view of the new Tax Incentive Code (Act 60 of 2019) and its effect on investors.
“People need to know these benefits are available and have always been available to every single Puerto Rican taxpayer and business,” explained Paola Medina Prieto, who emphasized the competitive nature of reducing the corporate tax of most eligible businesses to a flat 4 percent, “the most attractive incentive in the United States,” the release reads.
Juan Carlos Stolberg, Piloto 151’s co-founder and TIA board member, gave a presentation on the present and future of tax incentives in Puerto Rico with a focus on Opportunity Zones, tourism and infrastructure.
“There is a direct correlation between tax incentives and the heating up of the real estate market, and that shows how incentives can positively change our economy,” Stolberg pointed out.
Another TIA member, Giovanni Méndez Feliciano of GEO TAX, spoke about oversight and information requests, using tax incentive cases.
“It’s important to keep proper compliance on local and federal regulations to ensure the optimum implementation, growth and stability of the program,” Méndez stressed.
The conference ended with a presentation on the political and economic landscape of Puerto Rico by Raúl Vidal y Sepúlveda, the former assistant secretary for international affairs at the Puerto Rico Economic Development Department, lead promoter of the island’s incentives and director for the island’s New York Office who co-founded Omnia Economic Solutions.
He discussed the contribution of “this new economic sector to Puerto Rico’s wellbeing, including the creation of 40,000 jobs with an average salary of $36,000 per employee, and the annual tax revenue of over $200 million, not to mention the $10 million in charity donated by investors under the former Act 20/22 incentives (now Act 60 of 2019),” as explained by the association.
“Puerto Rico’s economic development is our main focus and calling, which is why we are here to continue to promote the pro-business best practices that can make Puerto Rico a leading investment hub in the world,” the former official said.