FINANCES

State collects $6.8 billion in 2014

While total revenues increased slightly, tax revenues missed projections.

Temas:

State revenue totaled $6.8 billion in 2014, an increase of $75 million or 1.1 percent compared to 2013.

The deficit increased $552.3 million, which was 7.4 percent above the projected amount. Tax revenues, the main source of state funds, were $4.8 billion, $440.9 million, 8.4 percent less than budgeted.

The income tax generated $2 billion, $245.1 million less than anticipated and $205.9 million less than in 2013. The business tax was $138.4 million under budget and $74.3 million less than the previous year. Furthermore, the income tax for self-employed individuals contributed $722.5 million, $11.5 million less than budgeted though 6.4 percent more than in 2013.

The increase in the income tax was about the same as the country's economic growth for the year, which was 6.3 percent. But the business tax did not match that same growth. The General Revenue Department said that this discrepancy was likely in a failure to properly collect the tax.

The sales tax generated $2.3 billion, $236 million (9.1 percent) less than budgeted, though $121.8 million (5.4 percent) more than the previous year.

Meanwhile, non-tax revenues generated almost $2 billion, $75.7 million less than budgeted, though $89.9 million more than the previous year.

The failure to meet budget projections has raised concerns about the country's growing deficit. Minister of Economy and Finance Dulcidio De La Guardia told the National Assembly that the last government inflated income projections in the budget for political purposes, and that it had authorized costs to the budget that did not have corresponding support in income.

To mitigate the impact on the deficit, the government approved a plan for containment of expenditures and tax measures that generated revenue of $141.6 million in two months.

These measures, however, were not enough to keep the deficit within the limits of the Social Fiscal Responsibility law, which limits the deficit to 2.7 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). The government estimates that the figure will be equivalent to 4 percent of GDP.

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