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PRMA, Synergi join to help businesses get employee retention benefits

The Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association established a strategic alliance with Synergi Partners to ensure that its partners and businesses established on the island receive as the highest compensation through the Employee Retention Benefit initiative.

On September 29, 2017 the PL 115-63, known as the “Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017,” was approved for, among other things, provide tax benefits to taxpayers affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and María. This federal law extended the benefits to Puerto Rico.

In June of this year, the Puerto Rico Treasury Department and the U.S. Department of the Treasury formalized a plan to implement this benefit. This plan stipulates eligibility parameters for the federal benefit for employee retention in Puerto Rico for employers that were inoperative after the passage of hurricanes Irma and María. It also establishes the mechanism for the prompt distribution of such benefit to employers based in Puerto Rico.

This benefit can be up to $1,920 per qualified employee. To date, Treasury has distributed more than $227 million in benefits. This represents only a fraction of what is still available, the organizations stated.

The deadline to apply for this benefit is Dec. 31, 2018, so employers are urged to act as soon as possible, said PRMA President Rodrigo Masses.

It is estimated that more than 75 percent of employers on the island have not yet claimed their benefit, and those who have submitted their claim have encountered difficulties in the process and have not met the requirements.

Currently, Synergi Partners Puerto Rico has helped hundreds of companies “capture millions of dollars,” said Masses

“We know the efforts employers undertook to keep their operations going. We want our members to benefit from this incentive with the support of an experienced company,” Masses said.

“Any business that was affected due to the hurricane and retained employees are eligible for benefits. By offering free evaluations to our members, we help them maximize the benefits potentially available to them,” he said.

The free screenings offered through Synergi Partners Puerto Rico assess eligibility for businesses in all areas affected by a hurricane disaster, which includes Puerto Rico. Synergi Partners has developed an “operational impact analysis” to assess the loss of business income on an individual basis, said James Brown, Jr., president of Synergi Partners.

The employee retention benefit can be substantial, according Masses. A small company with 25 employees could collect up to $48,000 in cash benefits in the form of direct deposit, and the amount will increase as the number of employees grows.

“Although almost all companies with employees may be eligible for the benefit, the evaluation to maximize the benefit can be very complex,” said Masses. “By offering this free screening for our partners, we have the unique opportunity to collaborate with our partners to support the sustainability and growth of their businesses.”

Employers must act quickly to take advantage of this program, as the funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, he said.

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