Friday, April 3, 2009
Robert R. Bliss
blissr@dor.state.ma.us
617-626-2369

Weak withholding and sales tax collections drop monthly total $53 million below benchmark

Revenue Commissioner Navjeet K. Bal today announced that preliminary revenue collections for March 2009 totaled $1.607 billion, down $309 million or 16.1% from last March.

Total tax collections were $53 million below the March monthly benchmark corresponding to the January 13th FY09 revised revenue estimate of $19.450 billion.

FY09 year-to-date tax collections total $13.410 billion, down $979 million or 6.8 percent from the same period a year ago, and are $117 million below the FY09 year-to-date benchmark

Commissioner Bal said "continued weakness in income withholding and sales tax collections, an increase in the payment of refunds, and corporate and business tax collections that were expected to fall well short of that realized a year ago" were largely responsible for the March revenue drop.

While corporate and business tax collections finished the month $9 million ahead of benchmark, the benchmark itself had been lowered by $179 million due to one-time non-recurring payments received in March 2008 and weakness in corporate profits identified earlier this year.

March income tax collections totaled $523 million, down $98 million or 15.7 percent and $43 million below the monthly benchmark. Withholding taxes totaled $761 million, down $26 million or 3.3 percent from a year ago, $32 million below the benchmark. Income tax refunds totaled $320 million, up $54 million or 20.3 percent from a year ago and $16 million over the benchmark. Income tax payments with returns and bills totaled $69 million, down $10 million or 12.5 percent from a year ago, $5 million above the benchmark. Estimated payments in March are small since it is not a month for quarterly reporting; the collection of $14 million while $7 million less than a year ago was on benchmark.

Corporate/business tax collections of $691 million for March 2009 were down $188 million or 21.4 percent from a year ago but were $9 million above the monthly benchmark. Sales and use tax collections of $276 million in March 2009 were down $20 million or 6.8 percent from a year ago and were $12 million below the monthly benchmark.

While meals tax collection for the year to date is holding its own and is $1 million more than a year ago, regular sales tax collections year to date are down $111 million or 5.0 percent while motor vehicle sales tax collections are down $45 million or 12.2 percent for the year.

Overall, year to date sales tax collections in all categories are down $155 million or 5.1 percent and are $28 million below benchmark. Corporate and business tax collections are $312 million or 16.1 percent behind the same period a year ago but $13 million above the benchmark. Income taxes are $491 million or 6.1 percent less than a year ago and $87 million below the benchmark.

FY2009 Year-to-Date Tax Revenue through March 31, 2009 pdf format of March_Tax_Revenue_graph.pdf

March 2009 Tax Collections Summary (in $ millions - Preliminary as of April 3, 2009) pdf format of March_2009_TaxSummary.pdf