Governor, Treasury chief tout SURI’s value for tax filers
By The Star Staff
Puerto Rico residents will have until April 18 to file their income taxes under the new and improved Unified Internal Revenue System (SURI by its Spanish acronym), officials said Tuesday.
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, along with Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés Alicea, presented the updated SURI platform, which they said comes with modern and dynamic navigation capabilities to facilitate user management.
They also announced the start of the 2021 tax cycle, which will run until April 18, 2022, and reminded citizens to claim the tax credits contained in the return, which in many cases will represent significant outlays for individuals and families.
The credits that will be available in the 2021 Income Tax Return are: the American Opportunity Credit, on eligible educational expenses; the third Economic Impact payment of $1,400, for people who did not receive it; reimbursable credits for Paid Sick Leave and Family Leave for self-employed individuals; and the Work Credit for people 19 years of age and older, with income earned in 2021, which will impact nearly 500,000 families.
“I proudly present, along with the Secretary of the Treasury, the renewed and restructured SURI digital tool, for the benefit of all users. Technological advances in our government make services more agile and accessible,” the governor said at a news conference in which he introduced the new system. “In addition, this tool inserts Puerto Rico into the most advanced practices in tax administration.”
The governor noted that, in the past two years, with the impact of COVID-19, SURI has had a leading role, becoming a great ally in the distribution of more than $10 billion in aid to individuals and to different sectors of the economy.
“In the coming months, we will also use this tool to disburse a large part of the approximately $2.5 billion of the package of six credits available in this tax cycle, of which five are contained in the 2021 Income Tax Return, which is already available,” he said.
The Treasury Department completed the integration of tax services in the digital platform in February 2020, after four years of work and an investment of more than $40 million. That technological advance put Puerto Rico on a par with more than 25 states in the United States and other jurisdictions in Europe and Asia.
“Recent work focused on the design of a more dynamic platform that has better organized information screens, so that taxpayers carry out procedures with the Department in a simpler and more efficient way, in addition to helping them keep their tax file information up to date,” Pierluisi said. “Taxpayers who file their return through SURI starting today will be able to experience this update immediately.”
Another SURI innovation is that it will have the ability to automatically populate the W-2PR 2021 Withholding Statement, practically preparing the return for filing, specifically in the cases of salaried taxpayers, who will only have to verify if the information is correct.
Functionalities have been added to accept notifications of mathematical error and payroll adjustment, speeding up the processes and providing easy access to the merchants’ registration certificates, the officials said.
Parés Alicea highlighted that “SURI expanded the visibility of the Department in the universe of transactions that are carried out on a daily basis, both at the level of individuals and businesses and corporations.”
“Undoubtedly, being able to audit live has helped us to be more effective in collections, in the payment of refunds and in the development of tax investigations,” he said. “Our interaction with taxpayers is constant, not just due to filing season.”
The update of the digital platform includes sections by theme and a “Search” bar, which will allow users to quickly reach the service of interest. It also offers quick access to the most used links, which are debt certifications, filing certifications, payment plan requests and printing of W-2s and the various tax forms.