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

Providence, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Department of Revenue (DOR) today released its FY 2018 Revenue Assessment Report for September 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 enacted in the FY 2018 budget. The methodology underlying the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimates is contained in the report.

1. September Year-To-Date Performance. On a fiscal year-to-date basis, the September 2017 report shows that adjusted total general revenues are behind expected total general revenues, based on the revenue estimates enacted in the FY 2018 budget and the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimation methodology, with adjusted total general revenues $9.7 million less than expected total general revenues, a variance of 1.2 percent, the same percentage variance as was recorded in August. The major contributors to this shortfall are business corporation tax revenues, $3.9 million less than expected; personal income tax revenues. $2.2 million below expectations; estate and transfer tax revenues, $2.0 million less than expected; sales and use tax revenues, $1.3 million below expectations; and departmental receipts revenues, $1.1 million below expectations. FY 2018 year-to-date lottery transfer revenues exceed expectations by 1.2 million. A total of 12 individual revenue items trailed their estimated values on a year-to-date basis through September.

2. September Monthly Performance. For the month of September, the report shows that adjusted total general revenues are behind expected total general revenues, based on the revenue estimates enacted in the FY 2018 budget and the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimation methodology, with adjusted total general revenues $3.2 million less than expected total general revenues, a variance of 1.0 percent. The major contributors to this shortfall are personal income tax revenues, $6.0 million less than expected with sizeable shortfalls in estimated tax payments revenues. Business corporation tax revenues led expectations by $1.0 million in September. A total of seven revenue items trailed estimates for September while nine revenue sources were ahead of expectations for September.

Regarding September year-to-date performance, Acting Director of Revenue Marilyn S. McConaghy made the following observations: Fiscal year-to-date revenues through September were behind expectations by $9.7 million, or 1.2 percent, the same percentage variance as was recorded in August. Adjusted personal income tax revenues were $2.2 million below expectations, a variance of 0.7 percent. o Adjusted personal income tax withholding payments through September were $11.8 million more than estimated, or 4.4 percent. These results are consistent with an improved labor market in the state. o FY 2018 through September adjusted personal income tax refunds and adjustments were $9.0 million more than expected, a variance of 60.8 percent. This outcome is attributable in part to the working down of a backlog of refunds carried over from prior tax years. o Fiscal year-to-date through September adjusted personal income tax estimated payments revenues were $5.8 million below expectations. Fiscal year-to-date adjusted business corporation tax revenues through September were short of expectations by $3.9 million, or 14.4 percent. Some of this shortfall may be due to the change in the due date of final returns for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2016. Adjusted sales and use tax revenues were $1.3 million below the estimate, a variance of 0.5 percent. Fiscal year-to-date adjusted estate and transfer tax revenues through September were $2.1 million less than expected or 36.7 percent, after accounting for the accrual to FY 2017 of $58.0 million of payments received in July. Adjusted departmental receipts revenues were $1.1 million below expectations, a variance of 2.7 percent.

Regarding September monthly performance, Acting Director of Revenue Marilyn S. McConaghy made the following observations: September adjusted revenues were behind expectations by $3.2 million, or 1.0 percent. The adjusted revenues for the sales and use tax, departmental receipts, the lottery transfer, and all other general revenue sources surpassed expected revenues for the month of September. Adjusted personal income tax revenues for September were $5.9 million below expectations, a variance of 4.1 percent. o September adjusted personal income tax withholding payments were $2.1 million more than estimated, or 2.3 percent. o Month of September adjusted personal income tax refunds and adjustments were $1.9 million more than expected, a variance of 54.3 percent while personal income tax estimated payments revenues were $6.3 million behind monthly expectations, a variance of 12.4 percent, even with the receipt of large, infrequent payment(s) of $2.5 million in September. September adjusted business corporation tax revenues were above expectations by $1.0 million, or 7.7 percent the first month this fiscal year that this has occurred. Adjusted sales and use tax revenues for September were $446,820 ahead of the estimate, a variance of 0.5 percent, marking the second consecutive month that adjusted sales and use tax revenues have beat expectations. September adjusted cigarettes tax revenues were $357,269 more than expected or 2.5 percent and include cigarette floor stock tax revenues of $1.1 million.

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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