The Puerto Rico Treasury Department collected $40 million less last month with $472.7 million in net revenue, down from the $513.5 million in net revenue in the books for the same month last year, according to figures the agency released Thursday.
The breakdown for the month shows drops in intake related to income tax, excise tax and Law 154-related taxes charged to foreign corporations doing business on the island. In detail, the numbers show that income tax revenue totaled $197.7 million last month, vs. $214.3 million in August 2012; excise taxes went to $227.5 million last month from $243.7 million in August of last year; while Law 154 generated $150.3 million last month, vs. $158.3 million during the same year-ago month.
Motor vehicle taxes, meanwhile, showed a slight increase, to $37.1 million last month, from $36.3 million in August 2012. Acosta said last month’s tally was the highest since 2006. When adding together the results for the first two months of the fiscal year, which reached $50.4 million, the figure represents a 13.4 percent year-over-year increase.
She emphasized on this point, saying it is a “positive economic indicator of consumer confidence,” as it is a purchase of durable goods that entail extended financing.
Despite the drops in several key line items, Treasury Secretary Melba Acosta said revenue for the first two months of the fiscal year totaled $968 million, surpassing the $12 million estimated for the same period last year.
With regards to the sales and use tax, known as IVU, Acosta explained that August collections reached $96.3 million, representing a 2.5 percent year-over-year increase. The collections, corresponding to sales in July — including the tax-free back-to-school weekend — gained its highest level for August since the IVU was introduced in November 2006.
“This increase is attributed to measures taken to broaden the tax base, which is another positive fiscal sign,” she said.
The entirety of last month’s IVU collections were deposited into the the Sales Tax Financing Corp. (known as COFINA). The first $644 million raised this fiscal year will go to meet Puerto Rico bond payments, she said.
In the first two months of this fiscal year about $207.8 million have been transferred to COFINA, equivalent to 5.6 percent more when compared with the same period last year.
Acosta said total collections for the first two months of the year fell in line with the estimates for the same period last year.
“It’s important to note that the month of August, as well as July, were not typical months if we consider that many of the new collections measures are not effective yet or are still in an implementation phase, since they were approved the last last day of the fiscal year on June 30, 2013.
“It will be in the coming months that we’ll see the end result of the new tax legislation and the administrative measures we’re taking. We are also closely monitoring revenue and strengthening control measures to meet the goals we have set,” Acosta said.
Meanwhile, the Treasury chief said revenue collections for the first half of September exceeded those collected for the same period last year. She said tax payments due during the first two weeks of the month, including Law 154, IVU and estimated corporate taxes, are above those collected for the full month of August.
To date, payments made through Treasury’s collections centers through the first half of September reached $520 million, a 7.5 percent increase when compared to $484 million for the same period in 2012.