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R.I. Department of Revenue releases May 2017 Revenue Assessment Report

Providence, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Department of Revenue (DOR) today released its FY 2017 Revenue Assessment Report for May 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 May 2017 Revenue Estimating Conference (REC). The methodology underlying the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimates is contained in the report. The principals of the May 2017 REC reduced estimated total general revenues by $60,091,6000 from the estimate adopted at the November 2016 REC.

1. May Year-To-Date Performance. On a fiscal year-to-date basis, the May 2017 report shows that adjusted total general revenues are behind expected total general revenues, based on the revenue estimates adopted at the May 2017 REC and the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimation methodology, with adjusted total general revenues $2.5 million less than expected total general revenues, a variance of 0.1 percent. The primary sources of this shortfall are personal income tax revenues $7.6 million below the estimate; sales and use tax revenues $4.7 million behind expectations; financial institutions tax revenues $3.9 million below the estimate; public utilities gross earnings tax revenues $2.4 million behind expectations; and insurance companies gross premiums tax revenues $2.4 million below the estimate. These shortfalls are offset in part by business corporations tax revenues $18.8 million ahead of expectations.

2. May Monthly Performance. Adjusted FY 2017 May total general revenues trailed expected FY 2017 monthly total general revenues based on the revenue estimates adopted at the May 2017 REC and the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimation methodology, by $884,492 or 0.4 percent. The primary source of this underperformance is personal income tax revenues $9.6 million less than expected. This shortfall is offset in part by business corporations tax revenues $3.4 million ahead of the estimate; insurance companies gross premiums tax revenues $1.7 million more than expected; departmental receipts $1.6 million above the estimate; and estate and transfer tax revenues $1.0 million more than expected for May.

Regarding May year-to-date performance, Director of Revenue Robert S. Hull made the following observations: Fiscal year-to-date growth in total general revenues through May are generally in line with expectations lagging estimates by $2.5 million, a variance of 0.1 percent. The spread between adjusted and expected personal income tax revenues was negative $7.6 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 below expectations by $3.3 million through May. o Adjusted FY 2017 through May personal income tax withholding payments trail expectations by $3.1 million, or 0.3 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 are in line with expectations. o Adjusted FY 2017 year-to-date refunds and adjustments exceed expectations by $7.6 million through May 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 May lag expectations by $4.7 million, or 0.5 percent. o Fiscal year-to-date through May adjusted sales and use tax revenues include sales taxes collected by Amazon on taxable remote sales into Rhode Island made in February through April that were remitted in March through May. Adjusted fiscal year-to-date business corporations tax revenues are $18.8 million above the estimate, a variance of 20.6 percent. Adjusted public utilities gross earnings, financial institutions, and insurance companies gross premiums tax revenues through May are a combined $8.7 million behind expectations, a variance of 7.6 percent.

Regarding May monthly performance, Director Hull made the following observations: May adjusted monthly revenues are less than $1.0 million, or 0.4, less than expected monthly revenues. Monthly adjusted personal income tax revenues trail expected May personal income tax revenues by $9.6 million, a variance of 11.5 percent. o May adjusted personal income tax withholding payments lead expected monthly personal income tax withholding payments by $1.7 million a variance of 1.8 percent. o Adjusted personal income tax final payments for May were in line with expectations, a variance of 1.9 percent. o Adjusted personal income tax estimated payments for May were 17.6 percent below expectations, a variance of $(654,869). o May adjusted personal income tax refunds and adjustments were $10.7 million more than expected for the month a difference of 52.9 percent. Adjusted sales and use tax revenues for May trail expectations by $433,096, or 0.5 percent. May monthly adjusted business corporations tax revenues exceed expected revenues by $3.4 million, a variance of 943.1 percent. May adjusted insurance companies gross premiums tax revenues are $1.7 million more than expected, a variance of 259.5 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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