Some 486,000 Puerto Rico residents will begin receiving e-mail notices from the island’s Treasury Department informing them of their eligibility for the $1,200 federal stimulus check, which will be deposited directly into their bank accounts, agency Secretary Francisco Parés said.
The deposits materializes as soon as the U.S. Department of the Treasury approves the local agency’s distribution plan, he said.
“As we complete the agreements with the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury on the distribution of the Economic Impact Payment, we have already identified some 486,000 taxpayers who would receive approximately $800.1 million, in all likelihood, in the upcoming weeks,” Parés said.
“In a first phase of the process, the Unified Internal Revenue System (SURI, in Spanish), identified the citizens who filed their Income Tax Return for 2019, can receive the aid,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said the local Treasury Department continues to synchronize the different databases to identify taxpayers who filed the 2018 return, who would also benefit from this program, in a second phase.
In the process, taxpayers were identified as having to register the bank account in which their direct deposit will be made, for which they must use the SURI online tool, he said.
“The process is going to be simple. I already had the opportunity to see the demo of the digital tool and we are well advanced in the technological structure,” Parés said.
“The tool will be a quick link and will not require an account. Taxpayers will only have to answer some basic questions in a simple way,” he added.
Regarding people who do not file returns and other groups, Parés urged them pay attention to official word from Treasury over the next few days. However, he also said those people will also have to use the digital tool to submit their information and register their bank accounts.
The official assured that the final approval of the aid distribution plan is “very close.”
“Today the IRS sent us a series of operational questions that the Treasury Department immediately answered. So far, the IRS estimates they will send the revised Plan to the U.S. Treasury later this month for final approval,” he said.
The local government sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, exposing the arguments as to why the IRS should be disbursing the benefit directly to Social Security participants and non-filing veterans, which are the areas yet to be defined.
“The IRS continues to evaluate the operational feasibility of our proposal included in the draft Plan that we presented to them and that we elaborated upon in the letter sent to Secretary Mnuchin. There are other territories in this same situation, and it’s our priority that this plan required by the CARES Act be approved as soon as possible,” Parés said.
When the U.S. Treasury approves the plan, the local Treasury Department “will immediately begin disbursements,” since it already has the go-ahead from the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico to use $400 million from the secretary’s account to advance payments and then request a refund.