Banking, Money and Taxes in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a cash-based society, and therefore the banking system are not of the highest standard. Expats may find that things don't run as smoothly on the island, so it is recommended to approach banking with a bit of patience and perseverance.

Money in Puerto Rico

As a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico uses the United States Dollar ($) divided into 100 cents, as its official currency.  

  • Notes: 1,2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars

  • Coins: 1, 5,10, and 25 cents 

Despite sharing the same currency, there are noticeable discrepancies between prices in Puerto Rico, in comparison to the United States.

There are ATMS throughout the island, but may be less frequent in smaller towns.

Banking in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has a number of international and local banks scattered throughout the island. Bank branches are generally open Monday to Friday, with some opening on Saturdays. 

Opening a bank account in Puerto Rico is not without its challenges. Banks in Puerto Rico are part of the U.S. banking system with few differences in tax laws.

Expats do not need a social security number to open a bank account, although a bank may ask for one. 

Requirements to open a bank account:

  • Two forms of identification

  • Proof of address in Puerto Rico (like a utility bill) 

  • A minimum deposit needed to open the account

If opening an interest bearing account without a social security number, an expat will have to complete a W8-BEN form which the bank will send to the IRS. An expat will then be issued a TIN (tax ID) so that they can report earned interest income with their tax returns.

Taxes in Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricans are required to pay most U.S. federal taxes, with the major exception being that most residents do not have to pay the federal personal income tax. Residents of Puerto Rico pay into Social Security, and are thus eligible for Social Security benefits upon retirement. 

Employers in Puerto Rico are subject to both Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax and the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA).

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