Puerto Rico's government revenues rose 18% in September from a year earlier and were up 4.4% in the first quarter of this fiscal year, the commonwealth's Treasury Department reported.
First-quarter gross revenues came in 0.4% below budget projections.
"We feel confident about our preliminary first quarter fiscal year 2013-2014 revenue growth," said Treasury Secretary Melba Acosta Febo. "The preliminary figures demonstrate the results of the new tax legislation and the significant fiscal responsibility measures we've adopted. We continue to closely monitor revenue collections and reinforce fiscal oversight initiatives in order to meet our goals."
The tax revenue report is good news Puerto Rico's government and for investors in its bonds, said Howard J. Sims & Co. senior credit analyst Richard Larkin. That the revenues were less than a half percent under projections is not a concern, he said.Sales and use tax revenues rose 5.3% in the quarter from the first quarter of fiscal 2012-2013. The revenues that come in at the start of the fiscal year go into a fund to pay the COFINA sales tax bonds and thus do not contribute to the government gross revenue figures mentioned above.
"These are the highest collections for the month of September since the [sales and use tax] was implemented in November 2006," Acosta Febo said. "This increase is the result of the measures we've taken to expand the tax base and is another positive fiscal signal."
While up year-over-year, the sales and use tax revenues were 1.8% below budget projections for the first quarter.
September's increase in revenue was due primarily to increases in corporate tax revenues and excise taxes on foreign corporations. The introduction of a gross receipts tax led to a 57% increase in corporate tax revenues to $243 million. An increased excise tax rate on foreign corporations led to a 25% increase in these revenues to $150 million.