The Puerto Rico Treasury Department has assigned 20 agents to find and fine businesses in the towns of Carolina and Trujillo Alto who have failed to remit sales and use tax money, as required by law. During the first two weekends of this month, a total of 58 businesses received a collective $902,400 in fines for their infractions, the agency said Thursday.
Fernando Rosario-Feliciano, deputy secretary of the agency’s internal revenue division, said a total of 131 businesses were investigated in response to confidential tips received through the IVU Alerta hotline. A total of 40 businesses fined were not using the required point-of-sale equipment to tally the sales tax, also known as IVU.
“We are attacking tax evasion from multiple angles, in this case focusing on businesses to make sure they are complying with the applicable regulations as IVU withholding agents,” he said. “This initiative is part of Treasury’s comprehensive plan to strengthen its oversight role.”
To catch IVU evaders, Treasury set up a confidential service through which citizens could blow the whistle on businesses that failed to provide a sales receipt or act irregularly during a transaction. Rosario-Feliciano urged citizens to report such incidents through www.hacienda.gobierno.pr/ivualerta or by calling 787-200-7700.
When the system receives a confidential tip, it is entered into the system and assigned a complaint number. It is then referred to the corresponding district, according to the location of the business, for investigation, he said.
If the complaint is legitimate, the agency will move on to setting fines ranging from $100 to $20,000 per infraction.
In 2013, the IVU Alerta hotline received 5,534 tips that were addressed, resulting in about $4.3 million in fines. So far this year, the line has received 992 complaints, of which 539 have been addresses, resulting in $2.3 million in fines.