General Fund net revenues for September totaled $758 million, representing an increase of $50.3 million, or 7.1 percent, year-over-year, but $17.4 million below estimates, Treasury Secretary Juan Zaragoza-Gómez said Thursday upon revealing the results.
Total revenue for the first quarter of fiscal year 2015-16 reached $1.9 billion, which is $161.9 million, or 9.1 percent, more than the revenues for the first quarter of the previous year. Revenue for the first quarter exceeded estimates for the same period of the previous year by $18.8 million.
“During each of the first three months of this fiscal year, monthly revenues surpassed the collections for the same month of the previous year,” he said, noting first quarter revenue were in line with estimates, “despite the challenges posed by the commonwealth’s fragile fiscal situation.”
Additionally, he noted that this is the second year in the past six years in which first quarter revenues exceeded estimates.
Sales and Use Tax (SUT) collections for September were $177.8 million, approximately $62.1 million over collections for the same month last year. For the first quarter of fiscal year 2015-16, accrued SUT revenues totaled $523 million, which represents a $185.1 million, or 54.8 percent, increase in collections compared to the same period of the previous year.
This increase in SUT collections can be attributed to the tax rate increase from 7 percent to 11.5 percent. Of the amount collected during the quarter, $352.9 million were allocated to the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corp. (known as COFINA) for debt service of its bonds.
This is $15 million, or 4 percent, more than what COFINA received in the same quarter of last year. The General Fund received an additional $170.1 million, reflecting the 4.5 percent tax rate increase.
As for the performance of the main revenue categories in September, corporate taxes registered both upward and downward changes. In September, one of the payments of estimated taxes from corporations operating on a calendar year basis was due.
Corporate income taxes were the primary revenue driver for the month with $208.2 million in collections, which is approximately $17.1 million less than collections for the same month of the previous year. This reduction is attributed to the fact that payments for the previous year included collections from the gross receipts tax, which was eliminated for subsequent tax years. However, an additional $23.3 million was collected for the nonresident withholdings item. This tax includes patent use royalties paid in manufacturing.
Foreign excise tax collections for the month totaled $114.1 million, representing a $25.3 million decrease from the same month the previous year. This was mainly due to the reduction in sales experienced by a company because of lack of available inventory. These sales are expected to recover in the coming months, he said.
Consumption excise taxes showed drops for a number of reasons. In September, alcoholic beverage taxes registered a $6.7 million reduction, resulting in a decrease of $1 million for the quarter. Motor vehicle excise taxes showed a reduction of $8.1 million for the month, which can mainly be attributed to the fact that several companies have claimed tax credits and registered reduced sales. Cigarette excise tax net revenues totaled $11.7 million in September. In addition, $30 million were received from the Electronic Lottery.