Puerto Rico General Fund collections reached $488.6 million in November, falling $15.4 million short of estimates, but $36.7 million above what the government shored up during the same month in 2014, Treasury Secretary Juan Zaragoza said Monday.
The current decrease is 3.2 percent less than the revenue projections included in the original $9.8 billion budget for Fiscal 2016.
“November is usually one of two months that register lower collections during the fiscal year. This is the third consecutive month during this fiscal year that revenues have missed budget estimates,” he said. Fiscal year-to-date [July-November] revenues total $3.05 billion, representing an increase of approximately $149.5 million year-over-year, but $23.9 million below estimates for the same period during Fiscal 2016.”
Given the behavior of year-to-date revenues, Zaragoza said after the publication of the Commonwealth Financial Information and Operating Data Report dated Nov. 6, 2015, revenue estimates for Fiscal 2016 were revised from $9.8 billion to $9.29 billion, a $508 million reduction.
The main factors contributing to this revision were: revenues below estimates during the last quarter of FY 2015 (April-June), which were the basis to prepare estimates for the Fiscal 2016 budget; the effect of the legislation that excluded certain services from paying the business-to-business SUT; and the behavior of revenues from certain categories from July to November, he said.
In November, individual income taxes registered a $31.3 million decrease compared to November 2014. This is due to the fact that, in Fiscal 2015, the Treasury Department received $29.4 million in non-recurring revenues associated with Act 77 of 2014, which granted a temporary period during which certain transactions, such as those involving Individual Retirement Accounts, retirement plans and other capital assets, could be prepaid at preferential rates.
Sales and Use Tax collections for November totaled $191.5 million, approximately $74.9 million more than in November 2014. This difference is the result of the increase in the SUT rate to 10.5 percent from 6 percent.
SUT revenues were allocated as follows: $109.3 million, corresponding to the 6 percent rate, was allocated to the Sales Tax Financing Corp., known as COFINA, and the other $82.2 million, corresponding to the 4.5 percent rate, was allocated to the General Fund.
Corporate taxes registered both upward and downward changes in November. Specifically, corporate income tax revenues registered an $8.2 million decrease. Non-resident withholdings, which include royalties from the use of manufacturing patents, registered a $21.9 million decrease. In this category, actual revenues were $25 million below estimates. Foreign excise tax collections increased by $10 million year-over-year.
Regarding consumption excise taxes, alcoholic beverages increased by $4.9 million in November. Motor vehicle excise taxes were up by $7.6 million. This is the first year-over-year increase in motor vehicle excise taxes for a month in Fiscal 2016.
Year-to-date revenues in this category have registered a $31.9 million decrease. This can be attributed to the fact that a number of corporations claimed approximately $32 million in tax credits. Compared to estimates, these revenues have decreased by $17.4 million year-to-date, the agency confirmed.