Attention Puerto Rico residents: If you received duplicate payments or were not eligible for the economic incentive (stimulus check) that was sent during the pandemic, the Department of the Treasury will be contacting you soon. The Treasury will be sending out a “Notice about the Recovery Process of Economic Impact Payments” to those affected.
During a recent press conference, Secretary of the Treasury Francisco Parés Alicea explained that these notices will apply to individuals who received $1,200 and $600 checks during the 2020 tax year. Although the program was not intended for all Social Security recipients, there were some who received improper payments. Approximately 34,233 people, or 1% of participants, received about $45,558,032 in improper payments.
Parés Alicea attributed these errors to duplicate payments and mismatches in the information provided on names and Social Security numbers. Other reasons for improper payment include receiving payments in advance and claiming them as a refundable credit or not being a resident of Puerto Rico.
To rectify the situation and prevent these improper payments from becoming a debt, the Treasury has initiated a recovery process. Those who receive the notice are urged to take action within 30 days to avoid further consequences. The recovery process does not include payment plans, so it is important not to ignore the notice.
Assistant Secretary of Internal Revenue of the Treasury, Roxanna Santiago, outlined the steps in the recovery process. Once notified, individuals can choose to pay what is owed through SURI or visit one of the eight Treasury collection district offices. If no action is taken within 30 days, an appraisal notice will be sent. If still no response, a collection notice will follow after 60 days.
Santiago emphasized that individuals can provide supporting documents to exempt themselves from payment, such as proof of returning the duplicate payment to the IRS. It is also possible to present such evidence at a Treasury collection district office without waiting for the 60-day period.
Officials acknowledge that approximately 1.8% of program beneficiaries are affected by this recovery process. They aim to guide individuals through the process and minimize panic for those who have already resolved the issue.