Treasury Secretary Juan Zaragoza-Gómez confirmed Wednesday that net revenues recorded by the General Fund in March 2016 totaled $929.7 million, a $91.1 million increase compared to March 2015 net revenues, and $5.3 million below revised estimates.
The report shows that last month’s sales and use tax revenues totaled $199.3 million, or $91.4 million above March 2015 receipts. The difference is the result of the increase in the state sales and use tax rate to 10.5 percent from 6 percent, as a result of the 4.5 percent surtax, and the 4 percent tax on designated business-to-business and professional services (known as B2B). B2B collections were $11.2 million in March.
Sales and use tax revenues were split into $189.6 million for the General Fund, $9.5 million, or 0.5 percent, for the Municipal Administration Fund, and $270,000 for the Film Industry Fund, Treasury confirmed.
March sales and use tax collections were $14.3 million above revised estimates, Zaragoza-Gómez said, adding that this is the first time since 2011 that sales and use tax revenues are higher in March than in February.
He attributed this improvement to the multiple oversight efforts the agency is making, such as placing embargoes on businesses with tax debts. Treasury will continue using all the legal tools available to combat tax evasion, he said.
“We’re changing taxpayer behavior, we’re sending out the message that failure to pay has consequences. This Treasury Department will not rest in its efforts to have tax laws enforced and move Puerto Rico forward,” Zaragoza-Gómez said.
Individual income taxes registered a year-over-year increase of $9.8 million. Revenues from non-resident withholdings, a category mainly associated with royalties from the use of manufacturing patents, were $82.8 million above March 2015 revenues. Corporate income taxes and foreign excise tax collections decreased by $32.5 million and $23.8 million, respectively.
Fiscal year-to-date (July-March) revenues totaled approximately $6.26 billion, a year-over-year increase of $260.9 million, or 4.3 percent. Fiscal year-to-date revenues were $30.6 million below revised estimates and $157.5 million below estimates included in the original FY 2016 budget.