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Congress Members Ask IRS for Update on Investigations into Abuse of Puerto Rico Tax Law

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Nov 20, 2023

In a Nov. 17 letter, a group of U.S. lawmakers has asked the IRS to provide updated and detailed information about its investigation of individuals who may be taking illegal advantage of a law that offered tax-related benefits for investing in Puerto Rico.

The 2012 law, known as Act 22, sought to attract investment by refraining from assessing taxes for all Puerto Rico-sourced income, dividends and interests, and capital gains for those wealthy investors who earn residency status on the island commonwealth. In 2021, the IRS announced an audit campaign against Act 22 beneficiaries, focused on U.S. taxpayers who may have inaccurately claimed Act 22 benefits without meeting its residency requirements. In July 2023, the IRS publicly stated that it is investigating 100 Act 22 beneficiaries and might pursue criminal charges against them. Accounting Today reported at the time.

In their letter to Commissioner Daniel Werfel, the 13 Democratic members of the House of Representatives wrote that, since that time, “the IRS has not released any information to the public regarding its auditing efforts.”

The incentive is not accessible to people already residing in Puerto Rico, who face income tax rates as high as 33 percent, Accounting Today reported. The representatives wrote that tax breaks will cost the local government an estimated $4.5 billion in forgone revenue from 2020 to 2026 and are raising the cost of housing on the island.

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