Americans have kept Puerto Rico’s Caribbean island paradise a secret. It boasts pleasant weather all year round, a thriving Hispanic community, and a lower cost of living than other American cities. Significant savings are also provided by Puerto Rico’s numerous tax incentive programs. However, one disadvantage is that it can be challenging to avoid driving in Puerto Rico. Autos are often the only dependable form of transportation on the island due to the insufficient public transportation system, particularly outside of San Juan. The following dilemma arises for immigrants to Puerto Rico who are eager to take advantage of Act 60 Export Services or Investor Resident Individual tax incentives: Should you buy a new car on the island or ship your current one?
Regarding this dilemma, there are several considerations, including the age and condition of your vehicle as well as its suitability for the hot environment and rough roads of Puerto Rico. The moment is now to purchase a new car if you were planning to do so soon. If you have a great, new car in the United States that you don’t want to be damaged in Puerto Rico, it might be in your best interest to get a brand-new local vehicle. In a northern country with snowy winters, any salt on your car from those salted roads could lead to future corrosion in sunny Puerto Rico. Additionally, you should avoid traveling to the island if your car has leather seats because the sun’s heat will make the leather burn you when you sit down in it. Costs must, of course, also be considered.
Puerto Rico Car Purchase vs. Shipping
First things first: both options will most likely be very expensive. An import tax, which is based on the value of the vehicle you are sending, will also need to be paid if you ship. There can be extra, unforeseen fees once you pick up your car in Puerto Rico. When making a purchase, keep in mind that dealerships import their inventory and charge customers for shipping. You will also be accountable for paying Puerto Rico’s hefty sales tax.
Shipping a Car
Several factors, including the origin, the carrier, the make and model of the vehicle, as well as whether you drive the vehicle to the port yourself, affect the cost of shipping a car to Puerto Rico. For most persons who have an Act 60 decree, moving their car to Puerto Rico will cost between $1000 and $2000. However, that does not include the import tax, which might be as much as $4,000 or more. More appropriate excise taxes are typical $1,000 or less. These figures can be added up to determine your anticipated cost, but keep in mind that Hacienda’s pre-import projections are not always accurate. On the ground in Puerto Rico, additional expenses, such as a $75 processing charge, can also be necessary.
Buying a Car
Americans are frequently surprised while shopping for a new car at a dealership in Puerto Rico because, in general, any vehicle’s price in the US may increase by $2000-$5000. Because of this costly cost, many Act 60 decree holders agree to pay the high import duty to ship their cars from the United States to the island.
If buying from a Puerto Rican dealership is out of your price range, there are other options. You can buy a used car from a private seller or a brand-new car from a dealership in the United States, such as one in Miami, and have it sent on your behalf to Puerto Rico.
People in Puerto Rico commonly utilize Clasificados, a well-known classifieds website, to hunt for used cars. If you choose to acquire a used car, you will have to write the bill of sale yourself, have it notarized, and do the entire transaction in Spanish.
Puerto Rico Car Shipping Process
Although it might be less expensive, it can be more difficult to ship a car to Puerto Rico. You must first prepare your car for delivery, which, depending on the firm, can mean emptying it of everything but a spare tire and a jack or letting the gas tank drop down to less than 25% of its capacity. If your vehicle is financed, be ready to give the transporter your title and a specific bank authorization.
Shipping can take anywhere from five days to two weeks, depending on the business you choose and where you begin. Be prepared to manage the maze of red tape that awaits you when your car reaches Puerto Rico’s shoreline, which is the most difficult aspect.
Puerto Rico Car Pickup
It can be difficult to get your car back after it has been sent. An Act 60 decree holder must first phone the relevant port, request the automotive division, and confirm that the “tasación” on the vehicle has been completed. This is a document that is created by officials who inspect your vehicle and who are responsible for collecting your import taxes. When you receive the email informing you that your automobile has arrived at the port, you should also phone to confirm because occasionally people receive the email notification before their car has actually arrived.
Your formal excise tax document, which is necessary for the payment of import taxes, must be obtained by traveling to the port and standing in line at the proper office. You might need to present your ID and license to a guard within the structure so they can create a nametag for you. When you arrive there, tell them your booking number at the window, and if your tasación is successful, they will give you your paperwork. After receiving the document, you have the choice of making a payment in person or online.
Online payment is by far the simplest payment option. The only requirement is to register with SURI, which Act 60 Export Services decree holders may be familiar with for their business taxes, or Act 60 Investor Resident Individual decree holders may be familiar with for the contribution tax return they must file for their yearly $10,000 donation. You must also make the payment when it is due. The port staff will walk you through the process and provide you with receipts as evidence of payment.
You could also pay in person. You can go to Hacienda or, if one is accessible, a store close to the port for a $75 processing charge as soon as you receive your documents. Be prepared to wait in line for at least an hour if you visit Hacienda, and bring cash. After making your purchase, you will be given a payment receipt, which you should bring back to the port to pick up your vehicle after passing through security once more.
To give the personnel your receipt, go back to the port and stand in line once more. They will release your car and provide you with a slip once they have verified that you have paid your taxes. You can now go into the parking lot, where you will have to look through a lot of cars to find yours. Your keys will be inside once you find your car, so as long as the road is free, you can get in and drive away. If other cars are blocking your way, you might need to ask the staff for help relocating them. When you eventually drive out of the parking lot, show the guard your slip. You’ve got your automobile back at last!
When You Pick Up Your Car
The red tape continues after you leave the cargo lot in your car. Get interim insurance to cover you before registering your car, and once that is done, make sure you get your license plate and registration. When you register your car, you’ll have a number that needs to be renewed annually. After completing all of that, it is suggested that you apply for a Puerto Rican driver’s license.