Sign up for tax alert emails    GTNU homepage    Tax newsroom    Email document    Print document    Download document

May 15, 2020

Puerto Rico’s Treasury Department further extends sales tax exemption for necessities and prepared food as a result of COVID-19

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recently announced extension of the lockdown period by the Governor of Puerto Rico through 25 May 2020, the Puerto Rico Treasury Department (PRTD) has further extended (Administrative Determination (AD) 20-12) the exemption from state and municipal sales tax for necessities. The PRTD is also providing additional time (AD 20-13) to acquire prepared food without paying the state and municipal sales tax.

First necessities – AD 20-12

AD 20-12 extends the sales tax exemption previously granted through AD 20-07,
from 30 April 2020 to 31 May 2020. Merchants will report the exempt sales on the line for sales of tangible property on the Monthly Sales and Use Tax Return. If a merchant collects sales tax from a customer, the merchant must immediately refund the sales tax collected. The PRTD indicates that even though the sales tax exemption is extended, the provisions of AD 20-07 still apply. For items subject to the exemption under AD 20-07, merchants should indicate “Sale of Exempt Tangible Personal Property” at the top of their monthly sales and use tax returns.

The following items will be exempt from state and municipal sales tax under AD 20-07:

  • Hand sanitizers
  • Personal disinfection items, such as soap, shampoo and wet wipes
  • Tissues
  • Face masks
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Disinfectants and antiseptics
  • Articles for disinfection or home cleaning, such as soap, detergents, bleach
  • Vinyl gloves
  • Analgesics and medicines with acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Cold medicine, including antihistamines


Prepared food – AD 20-13

AD 20-13 extends further previous sales tax-free periods (AD 20-08 and AD 20-11) from the most recent one that ended on 3 May 2020 to 25 May 2020. Merchants will report the sales on the “Sale of Exempt Tangible Property” line of the Monthly Sales and Use Tax Return. If a merchant collects sales tax from a consumer, the merchant must immediately reimburse the consumer for the amount of sales tax collected. Pursuant to the original determination in AD 20-08, items covered by the sales tax exemption period are prepared food, carbonated beverages, confectionary products, and candies.


AD 20-13 on the prepared food sales tax exemption is not applicable to alcoholic beverages.

Also, these COVID-19 exemptions both for prepared food and necessities are, in essence, applicable to the sales of those items. However, those items may be fully exempt from tax in the distribution chain during the tax-free periods because the PRTD previously issued AD 20-10, which allows merchant resellers to import or acquire taxable items without paying the sales and use tax, as applicable. The exemption period under AD 20-10 began on 6 April 2020 and ends on 30 June 2020.


For additional information with respect to this Alert, please contact the following:

Ernst & Young Puerto Rico LLC, State and Local Taxation Group, San Juan



The information contained herein is general in nature and is not intended, and should not be construed, as legal, accounting or tax advice or opinion provided by Ernst & Young LLP to the reader. The reader also is cautioned that this material may not be applicable to, or suitable for, the reader's specific circumstances or needs, and may require consideration of non-tax and other tax factors if any action is to be contemplated. The reader should contact his or her Ernst & Young LLP or other tax professional prior to taking any action based upon this information. Ernst & Young LLP assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in tax laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.


Copyright © 2024, Ernst & Young LLP.


All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, retransmitted or otherwise redistributed in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including by photocopying, facsimile transmission, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from Ernst & Young LLP.


Any U.S. tax advice contained herein was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by the recipient for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or applicable state or local tax law provisions.


"EY" refers to the global organisation, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.


Privacy  |  Cookies  |  BCR  |  Legal  |  Global Code of Conduct Opt out of all email from EY Global Limited.


Cookie Settings

This site uses cookies to provide you with a personalized browsing experience and allows us to understand more about you. More information on the cookies we use can be found here. By clicking 'Yes, I accept' you agree and consent to our use of cookies. More information on what these cookies are and how we use them, including how you can manage them, is outlined in our Privacy Notice. Please note that your decision to decline the use of cookies is limited to this site only, and not in relation to other EY sites or Please refer to the privacy notice/policy on these sites for more information.

Yes, I accept         Find out more