UPDATE 1-Argentina tax revenue rises less than expected in March

Wed Apr 3, 2013 4:17pm EDT

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BUENOS AIRES, April 3 (Reuters) - Argentina's tax revenue rose 24.6 percent in March from a year earlier to 60.28 billion pesos ($11.75 billion), falling short of market expectations, government data showed on Wednesday.

Analysts had forecast the official tax take at 62.15 billion pesos, according to the median in a Reuters poll in which estimates ranged from 60.65 billion to 66.50 billion pesos.

Growth in Latin America's No. 3 economy slowed sharply last year after expanding 8.9 percent in 2011 and the pace of tax revenue growth has cooled, although still brisk.

Much of the revenue growth can be explained by high inflation, which private economists estimate at about 25 percent a year. The government's widely discredited data put last year's consumer inflation at 10.8 percent.

The state tax agency reported that proceeds from the value-added tax (VAT) rose 33.6 percent in March from a year earlier to 18.36 billion pesos.

Social security contributions surged 31.1 percent to 16.81 billion pesos, while corporate and personal income tax revenue jumped 50.4 percent last month to 11.69 billion pesos.

Argentina's center-left government raised the floor for income tax eligibility by 20 percent as of March 1, partially satisfying demands from trade union leaders who want their workers exempted.

Tax revenue totaled 48.36 billion pesos in March 2012 .

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