Treasury signs agreement with Puerto Rico’s private sector
SAN JUAN — Treasury Secretary Raúl Maldonado and more than 20 associations representing different business sectors in Puerto Rico have signed a collaborative agreement on Tuesday that aims to reduce business owners’ compliance costs with the government, condone penalty fees in exchange for payment plans, and offer proactive attention to resolve controversies.
Maldonado assured that any animosity between the Treasury and business owners is now a thing of the past, and stated that from now on his agency will be “an enabler for the island’s economic development.”
“We are speeding business owners’ efforts at Treasury. For example, a business owner who has to renew their license annually, we want them to do it every two or even three years, as long as they are up-to-date on their payments. It is far more agile. Under tax reform, we will simplify application forms. We are eliminating regulations. There are efforts that require eight to 10 steps, and we want to reduce that to three steps: the visit, the process and the resolution. We reduced the average four hours a person spent at Treasury…to one hour,” the Treasury secretary said.
Currently, the private sector has a $3.1 billion debt with Treasury, of which $1.7 billion has a four-year due date. As part of the agreement, the public agency will condone penalties to any business owner who approaches the agency to settle their debt.
“In light of the great problems that business owners have had to pay the IVU [Spanish acronym for sales & use tax], we made a more flexible payment plan, allowing between 12 and 24 months to pay the IVU, and we are reducing penalties. With this measure, we hope to collect between $80 and $100 million annually. Now business owners will have only one payment plan in the Collection Division to pay off their debts, and that payment plan will be made in accordance to that business owner’s liquidity, because we want them to comply,” he added.
Treasury will waive penalties for late payments until June 30.
“The only way to solve Puerto Rico’s fiscal problem is to remain united, and this collaborative agreement is confirmation of what we are beginning to do. This is a very flexible government that solves things as they come up, and I assure you we will solve the fiscal crisis,” he assured.
The Treasury secretary said Puerto Rico’s business owners will be vital in the government’s efforts to overcome the island’s fiscal crisis.
“The only way to develop the economy is by helping business owners at the table. If this group here isn’t united with the government, we won’t survive. This is a national project, and we need everyone to cooperate,” he stressed.
The collaboration agreement was signed today by the Bankers Association; the Manufacturers Association; the Restaurants Association; Chamber of Commerce; the Chamber of Commerce in the West and South; the Chamber of Food Marketing, Industry & Distribution; the United Retailers Association; the Puerto Rico Society of CPAs; the Public Show Producers Association; the Farmers Association; the Engineers & Land Surveyors Association; the Made in Puerto Rico Association; the Builders Association; the Society of Human Resources Management; the Architects and Landscape Architects Association; the Insurance Companies Association; the Hospitals Association; the Retail Trade Association; the Internet Society of PR; the United Group of Automobile Importers; the Society of Optometrists; the Associated General Contractors; the Hotel and Tourism Association; and the Shipping Association.