Puerto Rico’s General Fund revenue collections for the month of January amounted to $664 million, a figure that is $1 million less than the same period last fiscal year, but that Treasury Secretary Melba Acosta described as a “record.”
The most recent revenue figures benefited from a special $23 million retroactive payment to the General Fund from the federal excise tax on rum not recurring in 2014, she said.
In cumulative terms for the July to January period of this fiscal year, revenues total $4.6 billion, $536 million or 13 percent higher than the previous year. Preliminary revenues for the month surpassed expectations by $36 million, Acosta said.
Meanwhile, corporate income tax collections in January increased by $32 million or 53 percent compared to January of the previous year, is attributed to gross sales tax (“Patente Nacional”) payments from companies whose fiscal year ends in January.
Revenues from the excise tax on foreign corporations subject to Act 154 were $142.5 million in January, an increase of $6.2 million or 4.6 percent over the prior year period. However, the withholding to non-residents decreased by $23 million as a result of payments made by two companies last year that did not recur this year.
Regarding revenues from the Sales and Use Tax (SUT), January collections from December sales amounted to $129.9 million, the highest level of collections for any month since it was implemented in November of 2006, she said.
January collections were used to complete the $643.7 million payment of the debt issuance to the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corp., known as COFINA. The increase in SUT collections during the month was $5.4 million, a year-over-year 4.3 percent increase. In cumulative terms, this year’s collections surpass those of the previous year by $40.8 million, a 5.9 percent year-over-year increase.
Government watchdogs said Monday that January’s results were disappointing, because despite the fact that SUT/COFINA taxes have been raised by about 26 percent in the last 12 months, the dismal 5.9 percent year-over-year increase points to a shrinking economy.
“We continue to see the positive results of new tax legislation and administrative efforts as we implement our fiscal and economic development plans and work toward a balanced budget,” she said.