The Puerto Rico Treasury Department collected $709.3 million in February for the General Fund, a figure that was up $39.4 million, or 5.9 percent when compared to the same month last year, and $6.5 million, or 0.9 percent, below estimates.
One of the main revenue drivers was $319 million collected in income taxes, which exceeded February 2014 collections by $35 million. All components of this category reflected increases when compared to February 2014.
Individual income taxes rose by $28.8 million, while corporate income taxes and non-residents withholdings were up by $4.3 million and $3.0 million, respectively.
Treasury Secretary Juan Zaragoza-Gómez said the 6 percent state sales and use tax revenues rose to $112.4 million, beating February 2014 revenues by $3.9 million, or 3.6 percent.
Total sales and use tax revenue will be distributed as follows: 0.5 percent, or $9.3 million, are transferred to the Municipal Administration Fund, and $270,000, to the Film, Arts, Sciences and Industry Development Corporation. Once these adjustments are made, the General Fund will have received $102.8 million, he said.
In the excise tax collections categories there were mixed results. Foreign excise tax (Act 154) revenues were up by $38.7 million year-over-year. Meanwhile, alcoholic beverages, motor vehicles, and tobacco products decreased by $4.9 million, $15.8 million and $2.6 million, respectively.
Fiscal year-to-date collections are $121.7 million, or 2.4 percent, below estimates, he said. Too close this gap, Zaragoza-Gómez announced the introduction of House Resolution 2316 to allow the pre-payment of a special tax on certain transactions.
This bill is expected to be passed into law in the coming days, he said.
One of these transactions will be a pre-payment, at a reduced rate of 5 percent or 8 pecent, of taxes on corporate dividends for future distributions of accrued benefits and profits. It also provides a window to pre-pay IRAs and Educational Contribution Accounts until Mar. 31, 2015.
“This will provide alternatives to taxpayers, and encourage retirement and education savings, while also providing tax relief. In addition, the bill provides an incentive plan to pay debts for income, estate, gift, excise, and sales and use taxes, as well as employer withholdings,” he said.
“The bill also establishes an incentive plan for voluntary disclosure of income and payment of the corresponding taxes,” Zaragoza-Gómez added.
The deadline to benefit from this incentive plan and make payments will be June 30, 2015.
Zaragoza-Gómez stated that projected revenues from these measures are $160 million.
“In addition to promoting tax compliance, these measures will provide the General Fund with additional funds prior to the enactment of Puerto Rico’s comprehensive tax overhaul bill,” he said.