Effective today, the Puerto Rico Treasury Department will open a link through the Unified Internal Revenue System (SURI, in Spanish), so that eligible small and medium businesses can apply for the second round of financial aid approved under the CARES Act.
Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés said the approved incentives for small and medium-sized businesses will be $5,000 for operations that had between two and 49 employees on their payroll as of March 2020, and $10,000 for medium-sized companies whose employee staff as of March 2020 was 50 to 500. In both cases, companies must have their Merchant Registration Certificate valid as of May 16, 2020.
Small and medium-sized companies that may benefit include nonprofit entities that provide direct services to citizens and that comply with the number of jobs required. This program applies to all types of operations, both individual and business through a legal entity such as a society, a limited liability company, or corporation.
“In the case of individuals who are self-employed and in turn are employers eligible for aid given the number of employees on their payroll, may request this benefit, even though they have received the $1,000 payment granted to self-employed people, as established in the Strategic Plan,” said Parés, referring to the first financial package distributed April.
“However, in these cases, individuals will receive $4,000, if considered a small business and $9,000, if considered a medium-sized business,” he said.
To request the disbursement of the aid, participants must access the link that will be enabled in their SURI accounts. As part of the application, they must certify that aid will be used to compensate economic losses resulting from business interruption due to the COVID-19 emergency and/or related necessary expenses, as established in the SME Aid Program Guidelines.
Parés said other requirements establish that none of the money received may be used to pay bonuses to executives, refinance debts or for non-permitted expenses. It also provides that any amount received that is not used on or before Dec. 30, 2020 or is determined to have been misused, must be returned to Treasury.
“The aid will not be used for payroll expenses if the small- and mid-sized business has received, will receive, or plans to apply for and receive aid under the private-sector Payroll Protection Program under the Strategic Plan and must commit to comply with all other program terms and conditions,” he said.
Applicants must submit a copy of Form 941-PR, or the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Declaration, for the quarter ended Mar. 31, 2020, along with evidence of filing with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
In the case of small- and mid-sized businesses that have not submitted the quarterly return for the period ended March 31, 2020, Treasury will use the information provided in the quarterly return for the period ended Dec. 31, 2019, to determine their eligibility for the aid, based on the number of employees reported in the return. Applicants must also provide their bank account information to receive payment via direct deposit.
The aid will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis and will be available until funds run out, Parés said.