General Fund collections for the month of March totaled $785 million, down 9.7 percent when compared to the $1 billion on record for March 2013.
In a statement released Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Melba Acosta said the current result is “not comparable to that of March of last year because it included non-recurring revenues that did not repeat this year.”
“In March of last year, $241 million from the Debt Redemption Fund went into the General Fund, which equaled an amount related to certain cancelled swaps. This measure was taken to manage the $965 million deficit in collections that this administration encountered in January 2013,” she said.
“This transfer of revenues will not recur this year. For comparative purposes, if the collections for last year were adjusted to account for that amount, revenues for this month would show an increase of $19 million or 2.5 percent,” she said.
Meanwhile, preliminary revenues figures for the of July to March period of the current fiscal year totaled $6.08 billion, about $269 million, or 4.6 percent over previous year’s results, and $86 million over the estimate for the period, she said.
Sales and Use Tax collections for March amounted to $93.5 million, “the highest level of collections for a month of March since the SUT was implemented in November of 2006,” she said.
This amount represented a $7.1 million, or 8.3 percent increase year-over-year, the highest rate observed this fiscal year since July 2013, agency data shows.
The month of March saw fluctuations in collections for the main revenue categories. Total collections from income taxes amounted to $395 million in March, which was about $20 million less when compared to March 2013. Individual income tax collections increased $10 million, or 6.6 percent. Corporate income taxes and non-resident withholdings saw reductions of $16 million and $13 million, respectively.Year-to-date revenue collections.
Total excise tax collections registered an increase of $34 million, or 17 percent. This increase is mainly attributed to two categories of excise taxes — the tax on foreign corporations, which increased $31 million, and the insurance premium tax, which increased $14 million.
However, there were changes implemented to both of them, she said. With respect to the excise tax on foreign corporations, the rate was increased from 2.75 percent to 4 percent, and in the case of the insurance premium tax, a rate of 1 percent was imposed.
Meanwhile, there were reductions in several other categories of exercise taxes, including distilled spirits, motor vehicles, and cigarettes.
“This month’s satisfactory collections have been beneficial as we continue to work toward reducing the deficit and achieving a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year. We will spare no effort in our endeavors to continue down this path. We are also implementing strict measures for controlling expenses, which will set the foundation for the economic progress of the island,” Acosta concluded.