Audit: Puerto Rico paid $8M worth of interest on tax refunds

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico's Treasury Department has paid more than $8 million worth of interest for withholding tax returns up to one year as a result of an ongoing economic crisis.

An audit released Tuesday found that nearly 250,000 tax refunds totaling $314 million were paid late because of what officials called a crisis in government cash flow. The action sparked 160 civil lawsuits.

The tax returns were filed in early 2015. The audit also stated that the government paid an undetermined amount of interest for once again delaying payments on tax returns filed last year.

Puerto Rico is struggling to emerge from a decade-long economic crisis and is pushing to restructure nearly $70 billion in public debt.