Interior Secretary Zinke Announces Release of $251 Million to the U.S. Virgin Islands in Rum Tax Payments for FY 2019

Last edited 10/27/2022
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Tanya Harris Joshua 202-208-6008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today announced that Interior will be signing over $251 million dollars to the U.S. Virgin Islands in rum tax cover-over payments for the estimated FY 2019 rum tax collections in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).

"The Virgin Islands government relies on receiving these funds as quickly as they are available,” said Secretary Zinke. “This is one way that my Interior team and I continue to provide necessary and beneficial support to the people of the USVI.”

Under the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands (48 USC 1541), 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 an advance estimate of rum excise taxes to the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) on an annual basis so that a payment can be made in September of each fiscal year. Any adjustments necessary are calculated based upon amounts advanced from rum excise taxes derived from the USVI and actual receipts collected by the federal government.

“A similar advance payment of $223,925,000 was announced by Secretary Zinke for the USVI in September of last year for fiscal year 2018,” noted Doug Domenech, Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs. “Any adjustments necessary for 2018 will be calculated by OIA and processed quickly in the Spring of 2019, once we receive the actuals from Treasury.”

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 assistance provided under the Compacts of Free Association to the freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. The Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, executes these responsibilities, on behalf of the Secretary, through the Office of Insular Affairs whose mission is to foster economic opportunities, promote government efficiency, and improve the quality of life for the people of the insular areas.


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