The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, announced an agreement in principle with the United States Department of Treasury which will allow employers that were not able to operate their businesses —after hurricanes Irma and Maria— to claim a credit of up to $2,400 for each employee that was paid a salary during said period.
The agreement, known as the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), will be made available to employers by filling out an electronic online form, and then the Government will disburse the funds directly through the employers’ bank accounts.
Governor Rosselló expressed that “we would like to thank the federal Government for approving the implementation plan designed by our Administration to be able to provide financial support to Puerto Ricans who continue to recover from both hurricanes.”
Following conversations between the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico, Jennifer González and the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) with the US Department of Treasury, the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury lead the effort and designed the plan, which received approval in compliance with Section 504(d)(1)(B) of the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act.
The federal act establishes that in order to receive funds from the US Department of Treasury towards the ERTC, the Government of Puerto Rico must develop a plan that disburses the funds to the taxpayers in an efficient manner.
The program proposes an online electronic system for claims and disbursements of funds of the ERTC.
In order to be eligible, employers must have had an active business or company on September 4, 2017 within the declared disaster zones of Hurricane Irma; and that had not been operational any day after September 4, 2017 and before January 1, 2018, as a result of the damages caused by Hurricane Irma.
This will also apply to employers who suffered the same kind of losses after Hurricane Maria, from September 16, 2017 and before January 1, 2018.
As for employees, the relief will apply to those whose main source of income were located in the disaster zones of Hurricane Irma on September 4, 2017; or in the disaster zones of Hurricane Maria on September 16, 2017. People hired after September 16 are not eligible.
The eligible salaries are all for compensation of services. This includes commissions, bonuses, and the cash value of the remuneration paid in any method not paid in cash; payments to employees for vacation or sick leave.
The retroactive payments granted under any federal or local law is also a salary subject to taxation. This also includes, for the purposes of the law, the amounts paid for medical expenses, hospitalizations related to sickness, or disability due to an accident.