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Puerto Rico: Fiscal Relations with the Federal Government and Economic Trends during the Phaseout of the Possessions Tax Credit

GAO-06-541 Published: May 19, 2006. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 2006.
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The federal possessions tax credit, which was designed to encourage U.S. corporate investment in Puerto Rico and other insular areas, expires this year. Proponents of continued federal economic assistance to Puerto Rico have presented a variety of proposals for congressional consideration. In response to a request from the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, this study compares trends in Puerto Rico's principal economic indicators with those for the United States; reports on changes in the activities and tax status of the corporations that have claimed the possessions tax credit; explains how fiscal relations between the federal government and Puerto Rico differs from the federal government's relations with the states and other insular areas; and compares the taxes paid to all levels of government by residents of Puerto Rico, the states, and other insular areas. GAO used the latest data available from multiple federal and Puerto Rican government agencies. Data limitations are noted where relevant. Key findings are based on multiple measures from different sources. GAO is not making any recommendations in this report. In comments on this report the Governor of Puerto Rico said the report will be useful for evaluating policy options.

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