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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Confusion arises over certain items during hurricane season IVU holiday

Rafael Cruz Santiago, deputy Treasury secretary of internal revenue

By John McPhaul

The first day of sales of items for the hurricane season not subject to the sales and use tax (IVU by its Spanish acronym) began on Friday with several doubts that were resolved during visits by officials from the Treasury and Consumer Affairs (DACO) departments and lawmakers to businesses.

The biggest confusion had to do with the exemption for batteries. Equipment that operates with batteries was exempt from the tax; however, the batteries to use such equipment were not included in the exemption.

Immediately, the deputy secretary of internal revenue, Rafael Cruz Santiago -- who was on the tour at the Home Depot store in Plaza Escorial in Carolina -- decided to include the batteries in the exemption.

“To the extent that it is necessary so that the equipment or tool that is exempt can be used, then, it would be included within the IVU exemption,” Cruz Santiago said in response to questions from the press.

Another item that caused confusion over whether or not the IVU exemption applied was with barbecues.

“One of the most common questions has been about the ‘barbecue.’ Our answer is, why is a barbecue manufactured? Obviously for picnics, etc., not for the emergency season,” Cruz Santiago said. “So for the moment and according to the definition, barbecues are not included like gas stoves; that is, the gas stove is tax-free but the barbecue is not.”

The author of the measure defining what is included in the three-day tax holiday, Rep. Ángel Matos García, argued in favor of the inclusion of barbecue grills. The legislator said that as a result of what happened on the first day of sales, the House majority will refine the language so that there is no confusion.

“We are learning from the process,” Matos García said. “We are perfecting or visiting different businesses to make all the necessary amendments so that the law is of total use to the consumer.”

Another source of confusion was the exemption for electrical generators or batteries that are charged with solar panels. Exempt equipment is equipment costing $3,000 or less. One cannot, for example, buy a generator or battery for $5,000 and expect to pay the IVU only on $2,000.

The special sale period ran through Sunday.

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