Puerto Rico Labor Laws

Puerto Rico Labor Laws

Did you realize that the Puerto Rico labor laws are different in many key ways than in the mainland US? They are substantially more labor-friendly than you might expect. If you own or are starting a Puerto Rico business and have employees in PR, it’s very important to understand these key differences.

Additionally, there have been changes to these laws. Some have favored the employer, but some more recent changes, just passed in June of 2022, are more beneficial to employees.

Some key points

  • Puerto Rico labor laws are based on “right to work” rather than the “at will” employment in the mainland.
  • Employees in PR must be paid a Christmas bonus.
  • Paid vacations, sick leave, and government holidays are dictated by law.
  • Employment can begin under a probationary period of up to 3 months (which can be extended for up to another 3 months if you get permission from the PR Department of Labor).
  • Should you need to terminate an employee for cause, it’s important to show a history backing this up.

New Webinar

We had scheduled a webinar on this topic which incorporated the PR labor law changes enacted last year, but a new change is causing us to delay this webinar. A court connected to PROMESA recently declared the new laws void, and the results of this are still being worked out. We will reschedule the webinar once more details become available.

Transfer Pricing Webinar

Transfer Pricing Webinar

PR Advantage is pleased to offer a free webinar series on transfer pricing!

What is transfer pricing?

Some entrepreneurs who relocate to Puerto Rico have existing businesses that continue after their move, which gives them the opportunity to use a PR Export Services company to provide management and other services from PR. Once they have relocated to PR, formed a new business here, and applied for the Act 60 Export Services tax incentive, their new PR company becomes a service provider to the pre-existing business.

Such business owners may have controlling interest in both companies, which means the relationship of the two businesses is not “arm’s length”, from a tax perspective. If this describes your strategy, you may need to consider transfer pricing. It doesn’t affect everyone who moves to Puerto Rico, but for some business owners, it can be an important consideration. This page provides a bit more detail.

Free Webinar Schedule

Because many of our clients have had questions about transfer pricing, PR Advantage has partnered with an experienced firm to offer a free, educational webinar series about transfer pricing. Come and get your questions answered by an expert who has helped many other Act 60 applicants. We are offering the following timeslots:

Session dateRegistration link
Tuesday, February 14, 20234-4:30pm PR time (12-12:30pm Pacific time)
Wednesday, February 15, 20231-1:30am PR time (12-12:30pm Eastern time)


Here are some common questions about this issue, as a preview for what we will discuss on the webinar. We encourage you to send additional questions in advance of the session, to ensure the best chance that we can accommodate them.

Q: What is transfer pricing?A: Fees paid by a company you own or control to another company you own or control.
Q: Why does it matter?A: This type of vendor relationship is not “arm’s length”, because you control both sides of the transaction.
Q: When would this affect you?A: In an audit, transactions that are not “arm’s length” could result in fees, penalties, and back taxes owed.
Q: What can you do about this?A: Obtain a Transfer Pricing Study from a qualified 3rd party vendor to set the prices one of your companies charges the other company.

We look forward seeing you on the webinar! Don’t forget to send us your questions in advance.

Puerto Rico’s Infrastructure

Puerto Rico’s Infrastructure

Puerto Rico’s Infrastructure

Puerto Rico offers all of the conveniences you are likely used to if visiting or relocating from any developed nation. If you are contemplating a relocation, please contact us if you have questions or would like a free consultation.


Roads in Puerto Rico

Major highways and tollways are as excellent as any found in the fifty States. The Puerto Rico highway and local road system is substantial and offers good coverage of all parts of the island. Some roads are not repaired and maintained as frequently as in many parts of the States but are still quite usable.


Electricity in Puerto Rico

There is currently only one power company in Puerto Rico – PREPA, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. PREPA is owned by the Puerto Rico government and is the only company authorized by the government to do this type of business. Dealing with PREPA can be a bit of an ordeal at times, and our concierge service can help manage this for you if you require it.

Electricity prices are a bit higher in Puerto Rico, as much as double the prices in the States, though you might find that your usage is different due to no need for artificial heat.

In some parts of Puerto Rico, electric outages occur from time to time. These are generally only for a few minutes to a few hours, but, especially in some urban areas, can be inconvenient. You can easily mitigate this risk by outfitting your home with a backup generator (or securing a residence that already has one, which is not uncommon). Additionally, it is very easy to find small power backups that offer 1-4 hours of energy for a few devices.


Water Quality

Tap water is safe to drink in Puerto Rico. As with anywhere else in the States, there are still components that can modify the flavor, and we prefer to have a filter on our tap (as we also did before relocating to Puerto Rico).

In some metropolitan residences, water shortages can occur – this varies a lot depending on the area in which you plan to live. When you are looking for a place to live in Puerto Rico, it is good to ask if the house or building has a water cistern to store a backup water supply to avoid inconvenience during these temporary shortage situations.


High-Speed Internet

High-speed internet is available in all metropolitan areas as well as smaller towns. Many find that their internet on the island is faster and more reliable than on the mainland! Prices are comparable to most areas in the States.


Cell Phone Coverage

Cell coverage is strong throughout the island. AT&T is by far the largest provider, and signals are strong in most metro areas, ranging to most rural areas as well. Claro is the largest local provider. T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon users will have coverage although the quality of coverage is not equal.



This, unfortunately, is not always reliable in Puerto Rico. If you are used to navigating by allowing a GPS device or the map application on your cell phone to tell you where you are and reroute you if you turn the wrong direction, you may have to change your habits here. GPS is fine to get overall directions and show the overall map of where you are looking to travel. However, updates are slow, and GPS sometimes gets confused in mid-trip and re-routes the trip inaccurately. It is best to look at the overall map rather than relying on turn-by-turn instructions based on GPS being able to locate your location at any moment.

Addresses are also not always accurately entered in GPS in Puerto Rico. Some GPS applications will be confused by Puerto Rico addresses as they are listed on websites and other listings, and will attempt to be helpful by giving directions to the address that most closely seems to match the one entered. It is important to make sure that the destination your GPS app has found for you is the same one you told it to find!


Puerto Rico road system

We Can Help

Our company helps people like you take advantage of Puerto Rico’s excellent tax incentives!  We can help you determine which tax incentives are right for you, help you plan your residency and relocation strategy, and simplify the entire process for you.

Contact us for a free initial consultation.

Navigating Puerto Rico’s Taxation Opportunities

Navigating Puerto Rico’s Taxation Opportunities

Puerto Rico: Taxation as a US Territory

As a US territory, Puerto Rico is part of the United States of America, but without the same legal status as one of the States. Federal laws apply and can override local laws, much as the legal system works in any State. However, Puerto Rico residents are subject only to local taxation for work performed on-island.

For US citizens, who are usually subject to double-taxation when living abroad, Puerto Rico offers a unique and very attractive situation for those that qualify for Puerto Rico’s tax breaks. Some US citizens can pay single-digit tax rates on much of their Puerto Rico income!

Obtaining these benefits can be somewhat complex, and that is where we come in. We can help you to analyze whether the Puerto Rico tax incentives can work for you, and estimate what kind of tax savings you might expect from a Puerto Rico relocation. Then, we can help you every step of the way to check out Puerto Rico living, set up your business here, apply for whatever tax grants are appropriate for your situation, and even manage your business ongoing, if you require that.


Taxation for US Citizens

Under the US’ section 933 exemption, Puerto Rico residents are exempt from paying some types of tax to the US federal government. On an individual level, a resident of Puerto Rico who is a US citizen is exempt from paying personal income tax for work performed in Puerto Rico, but would be required to pay US federal payroll taxes on any salary that they draw (Social Security, Medicare, etc.).

A US citizen who is a legal resident of Puerto Rico and earns part of their income outside of Puerto Rico would pay US federal income tax on that income only, and would need to file with the IRS only regarding that income. If a US citizen who is a legal resident of Puerto Rico earns all of their income on-island, they may not need to file with the IRS at all.


Other Taxes in Puerto Rico

Most municipalities impose an additional 1% tax, with some exceptions. This is similar to paying a city tax in the States.

Puerto Rico has an estate tax of 10%, which applies to those born or naturalized in Puerto Rico. US citizens who have relocated to Puerto Rico but were not born or naturalized here must pay the normal 40% US estate tax rate.

The sales and use tax rate in Puerto Rico was recently raised to 11.5%.

Contact us with any other Puerto Rico tax-related questions you may have.

We Can Help

Our company helps people like you take advantage of Puerto Rico’s excellent tax incentives!  We can help you determine which tax incentives are right for you, help you plan your residency and relocation strategy, and simplify the entire process for you.

Contact us for a free initial consultation.

What You Need to Know About Puerto Rico’s Goverment

What You Need to Know About Puerto Rico’s Goverment


With the new PROMESA law, changes are in progress. PROMESA gives power for oversight of the Puerto Rico government to a 7-member, bi-partisan board appointed by the United States Congress. This page will be updated as new information is released.

Here is an article with details on the current PROMESA board appointees.


Puerto Rico’s Commonwealth Status

As a Commonwealth of the United States, Puerto Rico is part of the US but does not have the same status as a state. Citizens of Puerto Rico are citizens of the US and are entitled to a US passport. Any citizen of a country with travel rights to the US can travel freely to the US.

Puerto Rico is self-governing for internal matters and established its own constitution in 1952. Its chief of state is the President of the United States, and Puerto Rico itself is under the protection of the US military. Puerto Rico elects a Governor as its head of state, governing all internal affairs. US citizens who are residents of Puerto Rico may not vote in US presidential elections, and Puerto Rico does not have elected representation in either house of the US Congress, although a single resident commissioner from Puerto Rico has a voice, but cannot vote.

Puerto Rico corporate entities are considered foreign corporations according to US laws, a distinction that is important when considering your strategy if you are considering relocating. Contact us to discuss more how this may impact you.

Residents of Puerto Rico who earn their income by work done in Puerto Rico (or investments made while formally residing in Puerto Rico) are not subject to tax by the IRS; instead, US citizens in Puerto Rico pay tax to Hacienda, the Puerto Rico internal revenue organization.


Puerto Rico’s Legislative and Judicial Systems

With few exceptions, Puerto Rico is subject to all Federal laws and regulations put in place by the US government. Most relevant US agencies have representation within Puerto Rico.

The island is divided into 78 municipalities, each of which is governed by a mayor and municipal assembly. The senior legislative bodies consist of the 27-member Puerto Rico Senate and the 51-member Chamber of Representatives. All of these political positions are put in place by popular election and last for a term of 4 years.

Puerto Rico’s judicial system is directed by its Supreme Court, which consists of 7 judges appointed by the Governor. The system includes a Court of Appeals, a Superior Court, a District Court, and Municipal Court.


Puerto Rico’s Government Agencies

Here is a partial list of government agencies and offices you may find to be a helpful reference:

  • AT: Land Administration (Department of Economic Development)
  • DDEC: Department of Economic Development and Commerce
  • DH: Department of Finance
  • DTRH: Department of Labor and Human Resources
  • Hacienda: Treasury Department
  • JR: Review Board and Use Permits
  • La Fortaleza: Governor’s Office
  • PRIDCO: Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (Department of Economic Development)
  • Promoexport: Trade and Export Company of Puerto Rico (Department of Economic Development)
  • OCIF: Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions
  • OGPe: Permit Management Office
  • OIGPe: Office of Inspector General Permit
  • OITE: Office of Industrial Tax Exemption

[Please note that the acronyms commonly used as names of agencies, by both English and Spanish speakers, reflect the original Spanish-language full names of the agencies. The acronyms listed above are what is commonly used by all; the full English-language names listed are the official translations of the full Spanish-language names of the agencies.]

Official directory of government agencies (note that this site is in Spanish – if you are not fluent, the Google translate feature will be your friend here)
Hacienda official site (also in Spanish)

We Can Help

Our company helps people like you take advantage of Puerto Rico’s excellent tax incentives!  We can help you determine which tax incentives are right for you, help you plan your residency and relocation strategy, and simplify the entire process for you.

Contact us for a free initial consultation.

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