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

Providence, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Department of Revenue released its FY 2016 Revenue Assessment Report for April 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.

It should be noted that this is the last Monthly Revenue Assessment Report that will compare adjusted FY 2016 revenues to revised FY 2016 revenues as adopted at the November 2015 Revenue Estimating Conference. The information underlying the analysis contained in the report was available to the principals of the May 2016 Revenue Estimating Conference and is incorporated in the FY 2016 revenue estimates adopted at that conference.

1. April Year-To-Date Performance. On a fiscal year-to-date basis, the April 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 $23.2 million more than expected total general revenues, a variance of 0.9 percent. The principals of the November 2015 Revenue Estimating Conference had revised the estimate of FY 2016 total general revenues up by $52.4 million.

2. April Monthly Performance. Adjusted FY 2016 April total general revenues lagged 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 $5.0 million or 1.4 percent.

Regarding April year-to-date performance, Director of Revenue Robert S. Hull made the following observations: Fiscal year-to-date revenues through April continue to exceed expectations by more than $20.0 million. The spread between adjusted and expected personal income tax revenues increased by nearly $6.9 million from the March 2016 report. Adjusted personal income tax revenues were driven by solid increases in estimated and withholding payments of $15.2 million combined with final payments falling below expectations by $11.1 million. Regarding refunds, for fiscal year-to-date 2016 the Office of Revenue Analysis incorporated an additional $29.7 million in personal income tax refunds into the cash basis FY 2016 year-to-date through April 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 $10.3 million or 3.9 percent, a decrease in the gap between adjusted and expected lottery transfer revenues from March 2016. Adjusted sales and use tax revenues fell short of expectations by $4.6 million, or 0.6 percent. Adjusted business corporations tax revenues trailed expectations by $1.5 million or 1.3 percent, a sharp decrease in the difference between adjusted and expected business corporations tax revenues that was reported in March 2016.

Regarding April monthly performance, the Director made the following observations: Adjusted total general revenues in April fell short of expectations, due primarily to sales and use tax and business corporations tax monthly adjusted revenues trailing expectations for the month by a combined $11.3 million. April 2016 adjusted personal income tax withholding payments exceeded expectations for the month by 8.9 percent, a variance of $7.4 million. The outperformance of withholding tax payments was nearly offset by the underperformance of adjusted monthly personal income tax final payments which fell short of expectations by $6.4 million for April Both estimated payments which were 4.3 percent more than expected or $1.3 million and refunds and adjustments which were less than expected by 2.7 percent or $1.7 million helped to reinforce the outperformance of withholding tax payments in April. Regarding refunds, for the month of April, the Office of Revenue Analysis reduced the cash basis for personal income tax refunds by $765,759 in FY 2016 April to account for an increase in the issuance of refunds by the Division of Taxation as the backlog of refund returns built up over the early months of the tax season begin to dissipate. April 2016 lottery transfer revenue trailed the estimate for April by 6.1 percent or ($2.1 million), marking the first month that lottery transfer revenues have been behind expected lottery transfer revenues since August 2015. All other general revenue sources for April 2016 were $6.7 million, or 16.9 percent, below the revised monthly estimate due to adjusted business corporations tax and estate and transfer tax revenues falling a combined $9.9 million below expectations.

The entire report can be found on the Department of Revenue's web site, 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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