Puerto Rico revenues beat projections by 19% over three quarters

Puerto Rico General Fund net revenues through March were 19% above Oversight Board projections for the first nine months of the fiscal year.

The Puerto Rico Treasury Department reported the results Thursday.

Net revenues for March came in 6.1% above the board’s original projection.

Diners and shoppers in the Old San Juan neighborhood of Puerto Rico’s capital in May. The commonwealth’s tax revenues are coming in ahead of projections.

Bloomberg News

The available data for fiscal 2021 so far — covering July 2020 through March — shows the government collected $7.79 billion, a $307 million or 4.1% increase from the same months a year earlier.

Net March revenues were $1.04 billion or $185 million more than the amount collected in March 2020.

“It should be noted that in mid-March 2020, a state of emergency was decreed by Executive Order [1] and a … ‘lockdown’ was established as a result of COVID-19,” said Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés Alicea. “This situation had an impact on the collection levels and on the economic activity of the last quarter of Fiscal Year 2019-2020, particularly during the months of April to June.”

In March the categories with the greatest General Fund collections were the sales and use tax with $234 million, individual income taxes with $224 million, and the other category with $144 million.

Parés Alicea said that tax revenues associated with consumption had done particularly well in March. In the first nine months of the fiscal year, sales and use tax collections were $394 million or 30% more than had been projected.

Puerto Rico bondholders and the Oversight Board have kept a careful eye on General Fund revenues as a measure of the central government’s fiscal strength. The bondholders have argued the board has repeatedly made overly pessimistic revenue forecasts in its fiscal plans.

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