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As with other United States territories, Puerto Rico classifies taxpayers living within its borders into categories based on their residency status, which include:

  • Bona fide residents who are U.S. citizens or resident aliens
  • Bona fide residents who are nonresident aliens of the U.S.
  • Not bona fide residents of Puerto Rico

In most cases, all Puerto Rican taxpayers must file Puerto Rico tax returns with both Puerto Rico and the U.S. government. Citizens and resident aliens who are bona fide residents can claim tax credits for each location on the other's tax form, e.g., a U.S. citizen with income in both places will claim credit for his or her Puerto Rican income on his or her U.S. return, and vice versa.

Proving Puerto Rico Residential Status

Bona fide residents can prove their status by:

  • Meeting the presence test
  • Not having a home outside of Puerto Rico
  • Not having a more significant connection to the U.S.

To meet the presence test, a resident must:

  • Have been present for 183 or more days during the previous year OR
  • Have been present for 549 or more days over the previous year and the last two with no year of residency totaling fewer than 60 days OR
  • Not have been present in the U.S. itself for more than 90 days OR
  • Not have earned more than $3,000 from activities in the U.S. AND
  • Not have had a significant connection to the U.S.

Members of the military and their spouses are a special case. If a member of the military is abroad fulfilling his or her duty, the time spent away from Puerto Rico will not affect his or her residency or that of his or her spouse. If a member of the military is only there as part of his or her service, that alone will not grant residency.

Exceptions

If a taxpayer owns a home outside of Puerto Rico and uses that home as a rental property, then that particular home will not affect the person's bona fide residency unless that person occupies the rental home for more than 14 days OR

That person occupies the home for a period equal to or greater than 10% of the number of days the home was occupied by tenants.

Further Assistance from the IRS

Taxpayers should familiarize themselves with IRS Publication No. 570, available from the IRS here, which provides information regarding almost anyone's situation. If a taxpayer doesn't fit any of the listed criteria, or simply has questions, both the website and the document list contact information where he or she can get relevant answers.

Note: States & U.S. territories may make changes to their tax laws with little notice. We do our best to keep this information up-to-date, but it is provided on an "AS IS" basis. For more see our terms.

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