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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