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R.I. Department of Revenue releases April 2017 revenue assessment report

Providence, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Department of Revenue (DOR) today released its FY 2017 Revenue Assessment Report for April 2017. 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 adopted at the November 2016 Revenue Estimating Conference (REC). The methodology underlying the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimates is contained in the report. All of the information contained in this report was available to the principals of the May 2017 Revenue Estimating Conference prior to the adoption of the revised estimates on May 10, 2017.

1. April Year-To-Date Performance. On a fiscal year-to-date basis, the April 2017 report shows that adjusted total general revenues are behind expected total general revenues, based on the revenue estimates adopted at the November 2016 REC and the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimation methodology, with adjusted total general revenues $68.7 million less than expected total general revenues, a variance of 2.5 percent. The primary sources of this shortfall are personal income tax revenues $20.4 million below the estimate; sales and use tax revenues $15.2 million behind expectations; business corporations tax revenues $12.9 million below the estimate; estate and transfer tax revenues $7.1 million behind expectations; insurance companies gross premiums tax revenues $6.7 million below the estimate, public utilities gross earnings tax revenues lagging expectations by $5.9 million, and financial institutions tax revenues $4.6 million below the estimate. These shortfalls are offset in part by departmental receipts revenues $4.0 million ahead of expectations.

2. April Monthly Performance. Adjusted FY 2017 April total general revenues trailed expected FY 2017 monthly total general revenues based on the revenue estimates adopted at the November 2016 REC and the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimation methodology, by $26.1 million or 7.1 percent. The primary sources of this underperformance are personal income tax revenues $18.5 million less than expected; business corporations tax revenues $11.5 million below the estimate; and sales and use tax revenues lagging the estimate by $2.6 million. These shortfalls are offset in part by financial institutions tax revenues $3.7 million more than expected and insurance companies gross premiums tax revenues $3.0 million ahead of the estimate for April.

Regarding April year-to-date performance, Director of Revenue Robert S. Hull made the following observations: Fiscal year-to-date growth in total general revenues through April trail expectations by $68.7 million, or 2.5 percent vs. $43.0 million behind expectations and 1.8 percent in March. The spread between adjusted and expected personal income tax revenues was negative $20.4 million and includes an adjustment that reduces refunds and adjustments by $9.3 million to account for July and August 2016 refunds that were accrued back to FY 2016. o Adjusted FY 2017 year-to-date personal income tax final payments are in line with the $176.5 million expected through April. o Adjusted FY 2017 through April personal income tax withholding payments trail expectations by $15.2 million, or 1.6 percent and include receipt of a large, infrequently occurring payment of $3.3 million in August 2016. o Adjusted personal income tax estimated payments for FY 2017 year-to-date trail expectations by $2.5 million, a variance of 1.3 percent. o Adjusted FY 2017 year-to-date refunds and adjustments exceed expectations by $2.7 million through April as the processing of current and prior year tax refunds approach peak and include the offset of a transfer of $3.1 million from financial institutions tax revenues in April 2017. Adjusted sales and use tax revenues through April dropped further and now lag expectations by $15.2 million, or 1.8 percent. o Fiscal year-to-date through April adjusted sales and use tax revenues include sales taxes collected by Amazon on taxable remote sales into Rhode Island made in February and March that were remitted in March and April. Adjusted fiscal year-to-date business corporations tax revenues are $12.9 million below the estimate, a variance of 10.7 percent. Adjusted estate and transfer tax revenues are $7.1 million below expectations for FY 2017 through April. Adjusted public utilities gross earnings, financial institutions, and insurance companies gross premiums tax revenues through April are a combined $17.2 million behind expectations, a variance of 14.3 percent. FY 2017 year-to-date adjusted departmental receipts revenues lead expected fiscal year-to-date departmental receipts revenues by $4.0 million or 2.6 percent.

Regarding April monthly performance, Director Hull made the following observations: April adjusted monthly revenues are $26.1 million, or 7.1 percent, less than expected monthly revenues, substantively higher than the monthly shortfall in revenues experienced in March. Monthly adjusted personal income tax revenues trail expected April personal income tax revenues by $18.5 million, a variance of 10.3 percent. o March adjusted personal income tax withholding payments trail expected monthly personal income tax withholding payments by $2.6 million a variance of 2.9 percent. o Adjusted personal income tax final payments for April were 8.8 million below expectations, a variance of 6.9 percent. o Adjusted personal income tax estimated payments for April were 12.0 percent below expectations, a variance of $(3.7 million). o April adjusted personal income tax refunds and adjustments were $3.4 million more than expected for the month a difference of 4.8 percent and incorporate an offset of $3.1 million for a transfer from financial institutions tax revenues that occurred in April 2017. April monthly adjusted business corporations tax revenues lag expected revenues by $11.5 million, a variance of 35.9 percent. Adjusted sales and use tax revenues for April trail expectations by $2.6 million, or 3.2 percent. April adjusted financial institutions tax and insurance companies gross premiums tax revenues are a combined $6.7 million more than expected, a variance of 309.1 percent. 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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