UPDATE 1-Puerto Rico revenue up year to date, but down for November
Dec 12 (Reuters) - Puerto Rico's government revenues rose 12.4 percent in the first five months of the current fiscal year, exceeding the cash-strapped U.S. commonwealth's budget forecasts, but income came in under target in November, the government said on Thursday.
For the fiscal year through November, the Caribbean island's revenue rose $335 million to $3.28 billion from $2.94 billion a year earlier, Treasury Secretary Melba Acosta said in a statement. The Treasury had estimated collections of around $3.2 billion.
For November, however, revenue slid to $522 million from $543 million, coming in $48 million below forecasts for $570 million, the agency said.
"Traditionally, November is one of less significant months in terms of collections during the year," Acosta said.
Late on Wednesday, Acosta told Reuters the island would not tap the municipal bond market until next year, and ratings agency Moody's put Puerto Rico's debt rating on watch for a possible downgrade.
The most severe revenue shortfall in November came in excise taxes collected from foreign corporations, which were $135.3 million last month versus $160.6 million a year earlier. Finance officials said some of the reduction was due to the timing of accounting adjustments by corporations that will likely benefit later revenue reports.
Other corporate tax collections picked up in November, while individual tax collections declined $8.5 million from last year to $132 million. Taxes and fees associated with cigarette, alcohol and motor vehicle sales also weakened.
Sales and use tax collections, which partially back some of Puerto Rico's best-regarded bonds, rose 3.2 percent from a year earlier to $97.6 million. This figure was below monthly projections by $25.7 million, the government said.
Fiscal year-to-date collections of sales and use taxes were $500 million, or 5.8 percent more than a year earlier.
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