Tax Collection Improved During First Eight Months

October 1, 2004

BETWEEN January and August, thegovernment collected ¢668 billion ($1.54billion) in taxes – 17% more than lastyear, according to the Finance Ministry.The increase occurred despite theLegislative Assembly’s failure to approvethe much-debated Permanent FiscalReform Package and the expiration of theEmergency Tax Plan at the end of 2003.The figures do not take into accountinflation, which increased 8.68% duringthe first eight months.At the end of August, the government’saccumulated primary surplus for2004 – total tax revenues minus expenses,not counting interest payments on thedebt – had reached ¢109.82 billion($253.56 million), 50% more than lastyear.Increases in the collection of sales tax,the airport exit tax and taxes on fuels,alcoholic beverages and vehicle circulationpermits (marchamos) caused much ofthe increase in revenues.During the first eight months of thisyear, the fuel tax generated nearly ¢69billion ($155.76 million) in revenues –28% more than last year, according to thedaily La Nación.The fuel tax consists of a specificamount added to the price of each liter offuel. The amount is revised every threemonths and is now ¢113 (25 cents) perliter.Revenues generated by the airport exittax during the first eight months increased10% compared to the same period lastyear, totaling ¢11 billion ($24.83 million).An above-average tourism high seasonthat ended in April was partly responsiblefor the increase, according to the FinanceMinistry.The vehicle permit tax generated ¢9.5billion ($21.44 million) in revenues duringthe first eight months – twice theamount collected during the same periodlast year.Revenues generated during the firsteight months by the sales tax increased33% to ¢133.76 billion ($301.95 million).Income tax collection during thatsame period increased 9.1%, totaling¢147.72 billion ($333.45 million).

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