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The Department of Revenue yesterday released September revenue figures showing a monthly collection that was $178 million more than that of a year ago, and was $141 million above the monthly benchmark.

For the first quarter of FY12, revenue is now up $310 million from a year ago, and is $190 million above benchmark.

The tax collection summary that accompanies the September press release shows that virtually of the revenue growth came from income tax collections, and, in particular, growth in income withholding ($69 million) and in cash estimated payments ($66 million), while the amount of refunds paid out ($20 million) was less than forecast. 

The release notes that some of the growth in withholding may be timing related; that is, payments due in October may have come in early, at the end of September.

The growth in cash estimated payments leaves still to be determined whether those payments will reflect capital gains taken this year, or if they are coming from taxpayers who have to make estimated payments this year because they did so last year. If those payments do not reflect current gains or dividends, at least some of this revenue will eventually be refunded.

Several one-time tax settlements totaling $71 million bumped up corporate tax collections to $14 million above benchmark.

And the sales tax collection, which is a measure of consumer spending and confidence, was pretty much flat for the month. Regular sales tax collection was equal to that of a year ago; small growth came in meals tax ($3 million more than a year ago) and sales tax on motor vehicles ($4 million more than a year ago).

All in all a pretty good month that keeps the Commonwealth on track later this year for a possible December certification of a .05 percent reduction in the income tax rate (from 5.30 to 5.25 percent), but a month that also had some trends that bear watching.

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