Interior Gives $2.2 Million Payment to USVI for Adjustment of Rum Excise Tax

Delegate Stacey Plaskett, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. and Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech at the 2019 Interagency Group on Insular Areas Senior Plenary Session

Doug Domenech, assistant secretary of the Interior, Insular and International Affairs, yesterday presented U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. $2,228,901, which represents an adjustment to the actual certified rum excise tax amounts for FY 2018. Certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, this amount represents the final rum excise tax payment owed to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the 2018 fiscal year.

“These funds are critical to the USVI government,” said Domenech, “and the Interior team has been working to conclude the transfer of funds today.”

Adjustments are calculated based upon amounts advanced from rum excise taxes derived from the U.S. Virgin Islands and collected by the federal government under the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands. Under current law, any excise tax collected on rum that was manufactured in the USVI and imported into the United States is transferred to, or “covered-over,” to the V.I.

Each year, the USVI government submits an advance estimate of rum excise taxes to the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs for a “cover-over” payment to be made in September of each fiscal year. An initial advance payment of $223,925,000 for FY 2018 was paid in September 2017. The total and actual amount certified for 2018 rum excise taxes collected for the U.S. Virgin Islands comes to $226,153,901 – this week’s payment of $2,228,901 makes up the difference.

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, as well as 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.