The San Juan Daily Star
Measure filed to exempt Río Piedras urban center from IVU
By The Star Staff
District 3 (San Juan) Rep. José “Cheito” Hernández Concepción filed legislation on Tuesday to create a sales and use tax (IVU by its Spanish acronym)-free zone in the traditional urban area of Río Piedras with the purpose of promoting commercial activity there.
“There is no doubt that for decades the urban area of Río Piedras has been going through a difficult time in the face of economic and demographic realities, as well as the rise of closed shopping centers and online sales,” the freshman New Progressive Party lawmaker said. “We have to diversify and do it immediately if we want to save this historic area. That is why we filed a measure that seeks to create an IVU-free zone in the area surrounding the urban center of Río Piedras, in which small and midsize enterprises would be exempt from the collection of the IVU for a term of five years.”
“We understand that the Municipality of San Juan is implementing strategies to reactivate the economic activity of Río Piedras,” the former San Juan municipal assemblyman added. “Likewise, the municipal administration requires tools that allow it to work with the range of problems faced by businesses and residents of the urban area. This measure aims to strengthen the path toward the economic recovery of Río Piedras and contributes to solving the problem of spaces with commercial potential that remain empty in the area.”
House Joint Resolution 449 orders the island Treasury Department, in collaboration with the Municipality of San Juan, to demarcate an “IVU Free Zone” in the urban area of Río Piedras with the aim of stimulating the flow of people and commercial activity.
The measure also makes it clear that the beneficiary businesses would continue to submit their monthly IVU forms and carry out the other procedures in accordance with Law 1-2011 (Internal Revenue Code for a New Puerto Rico), and any other applicable statute.
Historically there were many years in which Río Piedras was one of the busiest places in the capital city and the economic engine of the area.
“Beyond the quantifiable economic or tax effect, under this measure it will be possible to promote a rebirth of an area that needs and deserves it, creating an environment that favors the return of economic activity and the movement of people,” Hernández Concepción said. “At the end of the road, the intended benefits, both economic and social, far exceed what can be generated through the IVU in these specific areas while they remain mostly inactive, deteriorating and in disuse.”