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Robert Bliss, Director of Communication, Department of Revenue 

 

DOR released its March revenue report yesterday in which there were two story lines.

The monthly revenue report includes both a review of the month, with a comparison to the same month a year ago, as well as a review of revenue collection year-to-date(YTD) along with a comparison to the previous year's YTD.

While the press releases presents a written summary of the numbers, the one-page tax collection summary presents the actual revenue numbers.

Perusing that summary reveals that there was one revenue story for March — namely, that corporate/business tax collections were $50 million below benchmark — but a separate story for the YTD report, with tax collections running $87 million below benchmark due to less than forecast income tax collections.

Corporate and business tax collections had been running ahead of forecast for the first eight months of the year, but fell $50 million below benchmark in March (and $32 million less than March 2011) leaving the overall March revenue collection of $1.802 billion some $29 million below benchmark.

YTD, the explanation for revenue running $87 million below benchmark is found in income tax collections, which are up $270 million or 3.5 percent, but which have fallen $169 million short of forecast. Basically, it is fair to say that income tax revenue has gone up, but not as much as was built into the forecast.

Both YTD income tax withholding (up $260 million or 3.7 percent but still $74 million under benchmark) and income tax cash estimated payments (down $17 million from a year ago or 1.4 percent and $73 million below benchmark) are down.

As Commissioner Amy Pitter noted in the press release, "Withholding overall has grown, but at the rate forecast, while income tax cash estimated payments dropped off in December and since then have been flat, possibly reflecting a slow down in the collection of investment related income."

So with the big months of April, May and June ahead, the Commonwealth has collected $14.697 billion, $343 million or 2.4 percent more than at the same point a year ago, but $87 million shy of the benchmark.

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