Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Robert R. Bliss
blissr@dor.state.ma.us
617-626-2369

Corporate settlements and one-time payments offset weak withholding and sales tax collections

Revenue Commissioner Navjeet K. Bal today announced that preliminary revenue collections for December 2008 totaled $1.866 billion, up $21 million or 1.2 percent from last December.

Total tax collections were $55 million above the revised monthly benchmark of Oct. 15th due largely to several corporate settlement payments and other one-time payments received during the month totaling nearly $170 million. Without these one-time settlement payments, revenue collections would have come in $115 million below the revised monthly benchmark and $149 million below last December. It should be noted that $100 million of these corporate settlement payments were expected to be received at some point this fiscal year, but were not included in the revised revenue estimate of $20.302 billion issued Oct. 15, 2008.

FY09 year-to-date tax collections total $9.063 billion, down $68 million or 0.7 percent from the same period a year ago, but are $24 million above the revised FY09 year-to-date benchmark due to the one-time settlement payments.

"Corporate payments received a boost from a large settlement payment of $121 million, which will be partially offset by a refund of $12 million to be paid later in January, and from an additional settlement payment of $17.5 million. Additionally, approximately $30 million in payments was received under a voluntary disclosure program for previously non-filing corporations and financial institutions," Bal said.

Corporate collections were $100 million ahead of year ago and exceeded the monthly benchmark by $157 million.

However, withholding collections were $73 million below benchmark, due in part to declining bonus income, and sales tax collections were $22 million below benchmark, reflecting a continuing softening in retail and motor vehicle sales tax collections, Bal said.

December income tax collections totaled $991 million, down $51 million or 4.9 percent from a year ago and $70 million below the monthly benchmark. Estimated payments totaled $127 million, down $10 million or 7.5 percent less than a year ago in December and $2 million below benchmark. "Next month's report will begin to tell the story on capital gains tax collections for this fiscal year," Bal said.

On a year-to-date basis, sales and use tax collections are $77 million or 3.7 percent behind the same period a year ago and $47 million below the benchmark. Corporate/business taxes are $26 million or 2.9 percent behind the same period a year ago but are $123 million above the benchmark due to the one-time settlement payments referenced above. Income tax collections are $36 million or 0.7 percent ahead of a year ago but are $88 million below the benchmark.

For information on the voluntary disclosure program that produced about $30 million in corporate tax collections, see description of the program here .

FY2009 Year-to-Date Tax Revenue through December 31, 2008 pdf format of    0912graph.pdf

December 2008 Tax Collections Summary (in $ millions - Preliminary as of January 6, 2009) pdf format of    December_2008_TaxSummary.pdf