The Puerto Rico Treasury Department said Friday that collections for December 2014 totaled $854 million, or $71.2 million less than the same month in 2013, and $64 million below projections.
The biggest hit to the government’s coffers came from taxes associated with Law 54, applicable to foreign corporations, which paid $77 million less year-over-year.
The agency attributed the shortfall to several factors: One unidentified corporation reached the maximum cap for the excise tax for the calendar year in October, as opposed to 2013 when it reached the maximum cap in December. Consequently, this corporation did not make any payments in December. Second, another corporation made some payments last year that were not recurrent this year.
Motor vehicle excise taxes were also down $12.2 million, attributable to a 15 percent reduction in the applicable rate effected late last year.
Collections for the first half of Fiscal ’15 are $97 million, or 2.5 percent, below estimates, Treasury Secretary Juan Zaragoza-Gómez said.
Although total revenues were below estimates by $64 million in December, Zaragoza-Gómez said there were certain categories that exceeded estimates.
“Corporate income taxes were the main driver this month totaling $336 million, the highest level for a month of December. This represented $30 million, or 10 percent, more compared to December 2013, and $47 million above estimates for this month,” he said.
Meanwhile, individual income tax collections stood at $179 million in December, a $7 million increase on a year-over-year basis. However, collections were below monthly estimates by $61 million.
The estimates included about $40 million from the extension of the temporary period during which taxpayers could prepay certain transactions, such as Individual Retirement Accounts, retirement plans and other capital assets, the agency noted. The law extending the period to Jan. 31, 2015 was approved Dec. 22, 2014, preventing taxpayers from taking advantage of the preferential rates.
Taxpayers who were unable to take advantage of these benefits are expected so do this month, which will bring additional resources. $151 million was collected during the original term of the preferential rates for these prepayments, he said.
As for sales and use tax revenue, December collections increased by 3.5 percent, rising to $121.5 million. SUT revenues were the highest for a month of December since it was implemented in November 2006, he said.
December SUT revenues completed the $670 million that are transferred to the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corp.’s (known as COFINA) to service its issued debt. This is the first fiscal year when the transfer of SUT revenue to COFINA is completed in December, as it previously this took place in January.
“This means that from now until the end of the fiscal year, from the total amount of all SUT revenues, 5.5 percent will be allocated to the General Fund and the 0.5 percent, to the Municipal Administration Fund,” Zaragoza said.
So far this fiscal year, from July to December, SUT revenues totaled $690 million, for a year-over-year increase in adjusted revenues of 6.3 percent, or $41 million. SUT revenues have registered consecutive year-over-year increases during the last 17 months, he noted.
The agency disclosed that certain excise taxes collections showed increases in December. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products registered $5 million and $4 million increases, respectively. Meanwhile, motor vehicles reflected a $12 million reduction.
Collections for the first half of fiscal ’15 are $97 million, or 2.5 percent, below estimates. The biggest difference year-over-year is attributed to non-resident withholdings, which were $118.6 million less in the first six months of the year, when compared to the same period last year.