Treasury Unveils new Internal Revenue System
SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Treasury Department unveiled Wednesday its new internal revenue system, which aims to streamline the agency’s multiple taxes and platforms, in a bid to increase efficiency, oversight and tax management.
“Welcome to the new Hacienda [Treasury Department],” said Treasury Secretary Juan Zaragoza, adding that Puerto Rico can’t return to economic growth if the agency doesn’t get fixed.
Gov. Alejandro García Padilla accompanied the secretary, highlighting the efforts being undertaken to “bring Hacienda into the 21st century.”
To the tune of $37 million, SURI (Spanish acronym for Internal Revenue Unified System) seeks to increase revenue collection through better oversight tools, improved taxpayer service and modernizing the agency. It would provide taxpayers with a platform where they would be able to conduct new transactions online, such as paying tax debts and accessing different certifications.
Full implementation of the system is expected to run until 2020, beginning with the new value-added tax that comes into effect in April, and progressively transitioning into Treasury’s other components. “This is not a software you buy at a department store and install it,” Zaragoza noted.
Treasury has retained Fast Enterprises, a Colorado-based tax technology company, to develop and implement the system using the GenTax software. The firm, which has led similar projects in various U.S. jurisdictions and worldwide, will provide training to employees as well as maintenance.
“KPMG suggested what they called the jewel of the crown in the world, GenTax…. It is a proven solution,” said Zaragoza in highlighting the technology. He noted how important it was overhauling Treasury’s systems, which are not integrated and date back to the 1990s. “It is a very antiquated framework,” Zaragoza added.
“We are going to be here for the next few years as Hacienda transforms,” said James Harrison, an executive of Fast, who added they intend to “help Hacienda be more efficient and bring some fairness to the tax system, which results in increased revenue for the government.”
Harrison added that although they will bring a team of experts, they seek to partner with local professionals and businesses. “We have done this many times before over the past 20 years in many places…. It will be a significant undertaking,” he added.