At the 2014 Puerto Rico Investment Summit in San Juan, Puerto Rico, investors John Paulson of Paulson & Co and Nicholas Prouty of Putnam Bridge Funding, talked to a crowd of more than 200 investors and investment advisers about the benefits of investing in Puerto Rico.
John Paulson said Puerto Rico is on the cusp of an economic transformation that could make it “the Singapore of the Caribbean.” Nicholas Prouty said Puerto Rico is “in the process of a great reinvention” that is creating enormous opportunities for investors. Their message to investors was that Puerto Rico is a land of opportunity and discussed the advantages of living and working in Puerto Rico. It appears Paulson and Prouty have also discovered that Puerto Rico Is The Place. These investors and many others are taking advantage of new tax laws in Puerto Rico: Law 20 and Law 22. Paulson has invested in the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort and the Bahia Beach Resort & Golf Club, La Concha Resort and the Condado Vanderbilt, and plans to invest $1 billion in Puerto Rican projects over the next two years. Prouty has invested $750 million in Puerto Rico through his firm Putnam Bridge. Prouty shared his experiences since moving down from the mainland and making a new life for his family in the Caribbean.
The tax laws aim to promote the export of services from the Caribbean island and to encourage wealthy individuals to move to the island. The tax law 20 is for companies moving to the island and Law 22 is for individual investors. The Export Services Act 20 looks to establish and develop in Puerto Rico an international export services center. This act seeks to encourage local service providers to expand their services to persons outside of Puerto Rico, promote the development of new businesses in Puerto Rico and stimulate the inbound transfer of foreign service providers to Puerto Rico.
To qualify, a company has to employ at least 3 people. The tax benefits are: 4% corporate tax rate, which may be reduced to 3%, 100% tax exemption on dividends or profit distributions from export services businesses, 100% exemption on property taxes for certain export service businesses services, Decree of 20 years, renewable for an additional 10 years, guaranteeing these rates.
Almost all services provided for export are eligible including research and development, advertisement and public relations, consulting, investment banking, asset management and other financial services, and professional services such as legal, accounting, architectural and engineering services.
The Individual Investors Act 22 seeks to attract new residents to Puerto Rico by providing a total exemption from Puerto Rico income taxes on all passive income realized or accrued after such individuals become bona fide residents of Puerto Rico. To qualify, the new resident must not have been a resident of Puerto Rico at any time from January 16, 1997 through January 16, 2012. The tax benefits are: 100% tax exemption from Puerto Rico income taxes on all dividends, 100% tax exemption from Puerto Rico income taxes on all interest, 100% tax exemption from Puerto Rico income taxes on all short-term, and long-term capital gains accrued after the individual becomes a bona- fide resident of Puerto Rico.
To date there are 236 investors taking advantage of these tax laws and after the Investment Summit more are expected to follow. Law 20 and Law 22 were created in 2012 by Former Governor Luis Fortuno.
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