Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Robert R. Bliss
blissr@dor.state.ma.us
617-626-2369

Corporate settlements, growth in major tax categories help drive collections $194 million above benchmark



Revenue Commissioner Navjeet K. Bal today announced that preliminary revenue collections for December 2009 totaled $1.885 billion, up $22 million or 1.2 percent from last December.

Total tax collections were $194 million above the revised monthly benchmark based on the October 15th, 2009 revenue revision, due largely to several one-time corporate settlement payments and better-than-projected income tax estimated payments and estate tax collections.

December is a significant month for tax collections, as withholding payments start to reflect year-end bonuses, final corporate/business estimated payments are due and some tax payers begin to make their final individual income estimated payments for the year in December (the payments are due on January 15).

FY10 year-to-date tax collections total $8.711 billion, down $348 million or 3.8 percent from the same period a year ago (down 8.7% baseline), but are $230 million above the benchmarks based on the revised FY10 year-to-date revenue estimate of $18.279 billion.

"December corporate and business tax collections received a boost from settlement payments in excess of $120 million and finished $124 million above benchmark. Estate tax payments of $31 million exceeded benchmark by $15 million, while income tax collections were $40 million larger than estimated and sales and use tax collections were $14 million above estimate," said DOR Commissioner Bal. "Even without the corporate settlements and the estate tax collection, December would have come in more than $50 million above benchmark, which marks the third consecutive month of above-benchmark collections. While we will continue to closely monitor collections, we are seeing signs of recovery in recent revenues," she said.

December withholding collections totaled $804 million, down $37 million or 4.4 percent but $11 million above benchmark. Year-to-date withholding collections total $4.325 billion, down $175 million or 3.9 percent from a year ago but $19 million above benchmark.

December income tax estimated payments totaled $131 million, up $5 million or 4.0 percent and $23 million above benchmark. As noted above, estimated payments are due on January 15, therefore, income tax estimated payments received in December and January should be considered together. Year-to-date income tax estimated payments are $523 million, down $211 million or 28.7 percent from a year ago but $26 million above benchmark.

December sales tax collections totaled $377 million, up $71 million or 23.4 percent and $14 million above benchmark, with all of the December increase the result of the sales tax rate increase, which generated approximately $73 million in new revenue, and elimination of the sales tax exemption for alcoholic beverages, which generated approximately $10 million in new revenue. Without those increases December sales tax collections would have been down 3.9 percent from a year earlier.

Year-to-date sales tax collections total $2.231 billion, up $227 million or 11.3 percent from a year ago and are $25 million above benchmark, with all of the year-to-date growth the result of the sales tax rate increase, which has generated approximately $300 million in new revenue so far in FY10, and elimination of the sales tax exemption for alcoholic beverages, which has generated approximately $38 million in new revenue so far in FY10. Without the sales tax increases, year-to-date sales tax collections would have been down 7.0 percent.

December 2009 corporate and business tax collections totaled $416 million, down $28 million or 6.3 percent from a year ago but were $124 million above benchmark due to one-time settlement payments. Year-to-date corporate and business tax collections total $875 million, up $1 million or 0.1 percent, and $121 million above benchmark, but on a baseline basis are 7.5 percent below that of a year ago.

FY2010 Year-to-Date Revenue through December 31, 2009 pdf format of    dec_ytd_revenue.pdf

December 2009 Tax Collection Summary (preliminary as of January 6, 2010) pdf format of    Dec_tax_summary.pdf