Working From Home
It is hard to not notice the influx of Act 20 and Act 22 individuals seeking tax incentives in Puerto Rico from dining at Santaella to hanging out at Silk in Condado. Financiers and entrepreneurs are shifting their base to the island to capitalize on huge tax savings that will help them put their money into overdrive and are looking to invest as much as a staggering $10 billion by the year 2017. Last year, 205 people who have moved to Puerto Rico under Law 20/22 decrees, which include eight billionaires who have collectively invested roughly $1.5 billion in the island. That number is expected to double or triple this year.
Eligibility for tax incentives and breaks in the island entail that a person must be a bona fine resident on the island for 183 days a year, and have proof of social and family connections. Many people moving to the island are working from home. If you’re one of the many individuals looking to setup a home office in Puerto Rico, here are a few tips on getting started in the right direction.
Working from home offers many benefits starting with the freedom of setting your own schedule to saving money and time spent in daily commutes. But in order to be successful, you require an efficient office space that is unlike a traditional work environment. Puerto Rico offers it’s own unique challenges to working from home.
Setting up a Home Office
- Check your home’s zoning limitations — while a small home office is just fine, if you plan to need additional parking and employees, you may hit some snags. For the most part, Puerto Rico is more lenient than the mainland when it comes to the home office.
- Confirm internet speed — while companies may advertise fast internet speeds, the actual speed to your home may be vastly different. Ask neighbors, the (previous) homeowner and internet providers before committing to a home. In some areas, if the need for an internet speed of at least 10 mbs is a significant factor in your decision, do your research well. The max can be around 5 despite all sorts of promises and predictions. With regards to internet, DSL is available throughout most of the Island and the two main internet service providers to explore are Liberty Cable and Claro.
- GET BACKUPS — some areas suffer from frequent power outages and internet downtime. Make sure you have a generator available as well as backup internet providers like DSL and even hotspots on your phone. Also be sure to purchase battery backups for vital electronics. See our article on setting up internet for more info.
- Set up surge protectors –power surges can damage electrical equipment including your computers, monitors, appliances and TV’s. Invest in quality surge protectors in your hoe office.
- Make a list of Home Office Supplies and Needs – before assigning yourself a space in one of your rooms for an office, make a list of your basic needs. This list should include a computer, desk, telephone, fax, machine, stationery and internet connectivity.
- Balance Storage and Workplace Requirements – generally, an office area has limited space even if it’s just a computer table and chair in the room. This is why it is important to keep things organized so that you enjoy ample workspace and also have room for your files, cabinets, etc.
- Lighting is Important – try as much as possible to use an office space that offers plenty of natural light. If this not possible or there’s shortage of natural lights, consider installing overhead lights throughout your work area. You can enhance the lighting by adding floor lamps, desk lamps or concentrated lighting for your computer.
- Get a Dedicated Phone Line – one of the many perks of working from home is reduced overhead, but do not cut corners by getting a shared phone line. Your clients may not only question the legitimacy of your business, but will also question your professionalism. Consider purchasing a Puerto Rico phone number redirect to do business within Puerto Rico.
- Set up business banking – do not mix your personal life with business. The first thing you should do is setup a separate bank account for your business. Also ensure that you maintain a good record of your tax declarations to avoid any hassles in the long term. Skip to this article on setting up a business bank account.