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R.I. Department of Revenue releases March 2016 revenue assessment report

Providence, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Department of Revenue released its FY 2016 Revenue Assessment Report for March 2016 today. The Revenue Assessment Report, which is issued on a monthly basis, compares the adjusted general revenues by revenue source on a fiscal year-to-date and monthly basis to expected general revenues by revenue source. Expected general revenues are estimated by the DOR's Office of Revenue Analysis from the revenue estimates enacted in the FY 2016 budget. The methodology underlying the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimates is contained in the report.

1. March Year-To-Date Performance. On a fiscal year-to-date basis, the March 2016 report shows that adjusted total general revenues are ahead of expected total general revenues, based on the revenue estimates adopted at the November 2015 Revenue Estimating Conference and the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimation methodology, with adjusted total general revenues $25.3 million more than expected total general revenues, a variance of 1.1 percent. The principals of the November 2015 Revenue Estimating Conference revised the estimate of FY 2016 total general revenues up by $52.4 million.

2. March Monthly Performance. Adjusted FY 2016 March total general revenues exceeded expected FY 2016 monthly total general revenues based on the revenue estimates adopted at the November 2015 Revenue Estimating Conference and the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimation methodology by $8.6 million or 2.5 percent.

Regarding March year-to-date performance, Director of Revenue Robert S. Hull made the following observations: Fiscal year-to-date revenues through March continue to modestly exceed expectations. The spread between adjusted and expected personal income tax revenues decreased by nearly $8.2 million from the February 2016 report. Adjusted personal income tax revenues were driven by a solid increase in estimated personal income tax payments with both final payments and withholding payments falling below expectations by a combined $6.3 million. Regarding refunds, for fiscal year-to-date 2016 the Office of Revenue Analysis incorporated an additional $33.3 million in personal income tax refunds into the cash basis FY 2016 year-to-date through March total refunds amount to account for the delay in the issuance of refunds by the Division of Taxation that have resulted from the enhanced review for fraud and prevention of identity theft and improved quality assurance brought about by implementation of its new Integrated Tax System. Adjusted lottery transfer revenues exceeded expectations by $12.4 million or 5.4 percent, an increase in the gap between adjusted and expected lottery transfer revenues from February 2016. Adjusted personal income tax withholding revenues trailed expectations by $1.6 million or -0.2 percent. Adjusted sales and use tax revenues fell short of expectations by $753,960, or -0.1 percent. Adjusted business corporations tax revenues exceeded expectations by $6.0 million or 6.1 percent, a decrease in the difference between adjusted and expected business corporations tax revenues that was reported in February 2016.

Regarding March monthly performance, the director made the following observations: Adjusted total general revenues in March exceeded expectations, with the State's two largest revenue streams, personal income tax and sales and use tax leading expectations for the month. March 2016 adjusted personal income tax withholding payments exceeded expectations for the month by 2.9 percent, an increase on a percentage basis from February 2016. The primary driver of the surplus in personal income tax revenues for March was refunds and adjustments, which were less than expected by 19.2 percent or $13.1 million. Regarding refunds, for the month of March, the Office of Revenue Analysis incorporated an additional $12.1 million in personal income tax refunds into the cash basis FY 2016 March total refunds amount to account for the delay in the issuance of refunds by the Division of Taxation that have resulted from the enhanced review for fraud and prevention of identity theft and improved quality assurance brought about by implementation of its new Integrated Tax System. March 2016 lottery transfer revenue exceeded the estimate for March by 4.3 percent or $1.2 million, marking the seventh-consecutive month that lottery transfer revenues have been ahead of expected lottery transfer revenues. All other general revenue sources for March 2016 were $3.5 million, or 2.0 percent, below the revised estimate due primarily to adjusted business corporations tax and public utilities gross earnings tax revenues falling a combined $6.7 million below expectations.

The entire report can be found on the Department of Revenue's website, www.dor.ri.gov, under the Revenue Analysis header on the State Reports tab.

Questions or comments on the report should be directed to Paul Grimaldi, Chief of Information and Public Relations by e-mail at paul.grimaldi@revenue.ri.gov or by phone at (401) 574-8766.

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