WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 23, 2017) – Acting Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Nikolao Pula has approved an adjustment payment of $18,173,711 million to the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) for fiscal year 2016 rum excise tax actuals. The amount has been certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and represents the final rum excise tax payment owed to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the 2016 fiscal year.
"We recognize these funds are critical to government operations in the USVI and are working closely with Governor Kenneth Mapp and his staff to ensure the funds are transferred as quickly as possible,” said Acting Assistant Secretary Pula.
Adjustments are calculated based upon amounts advanced from rum excise taxes derived from the USVI and collected by the federal government under the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands (48 USC 1541). Under current law, any excise tax collected on USVI manufactured rum imported into the United States is transferred to or “covered-over” to the USVI. The USVI Government submits its advance estimate of rum excise taxes to the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs on an annual basis so that payment can be made in September of each fiscal year.
The initial 2016 advance of $213,325,000 was paid in September 2015. The actual taxes certified for 2016 totaled $231,498,711. An advance payment of $202,725,000 to the USVI was made in September 2016 for 2017 rum excise taxes.
The Secretary of the Interior is responsible for coordinating federal policy with respect to the territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and administering and overseeing U.S. federal assistance provided to the freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association. The Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas and the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) executes these responsibilities. OIA’s mission is to foster economic opportunities, promote government efficiency, and improve the quality of life for the people of the insular areas.