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August 2019 Revenue Assessment report available

Providence, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Department of Revenue today (DOR) released its FY 2020 Revenue Assessment Report for August 2019. 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 2020 budget. The methodology underlying the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimates is contained in the report.

August Year-To-Date Performance. On a fiscal year-to-date basis, the August 2019 report shows that adjusted total general revenues are behind expected total general revenues, based on the revenue estimates enacted in the FY 2020 budget and the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimation methodology, with adjusted total general revenues $9.0 million less than expected total general revenues, a variance of 1.7%. The strongest driver of this under-performance are personal income tax withholding payment revenues, which are down $5.1 million, or 2.6% from expectations, and personal income tax refunds and adjustments revenues, which are more than expected by $4.7 million, or 33.3%. Further, adjusted estate and transfer tax revenues are $3.2 million behind expectations, a variance of 49.1%. Finally, departmental receipts and lottery transfer adjusted revenues through August trail expected revenues by $2.5 million each, yielding variances of 7.9% and 7.5% respectively. On the positive side, adjusted business corporation tax revenues are $2.6 million more than expected through August, a variance of 28.8%, and cigarette and other tobacco products adjusted revenues through year-to-date FY 2020 are $1.9 million above the estimate, an 8.3% difference.

Regarding August year-to-date performance, Director of Revenue Mark A. Furcolo made the following observations: Fiscal year-to-date adjusted total general revenues through August trail expectations by $9.0 million, or 1.7%, a substantive drop from the July report; Adjusted personal income tax revenues are $5.9 million below expectations, a variance of 3.0%, due to a miss in both personal income tax withholding payments and refunds and adjustments revenues relative to the fiscal year-to-date estimate; Adjusted sales and use tax revenues through August are in line with expectations for FY 2020 through August; Adjusted departmental receipts revenues are $2.5 million below the fiscal year-to-date through August estimate, a variance of 7.9%; Lottery transfer adjusted fiscal year-to-date through August revenues, reflecting July gaming activity, are also $2.5 million below expectations likely due to the impact of the recent opening of the Encore Boston Casino on the Twin River Casino Hotel; Adjusted business corporation tax and cigarette and other tobacco products tax revenues are ahead of expectations by $2.6 million and $2.0 million respectively, variances of 28.8% and 8.3%, with the uptick in cigarettes excise tax revenues due to the unpredictable timing of when tobacco products are imported into the state by wholesalers for resale.

August Monthly Performance. For the month of August, the report indicates that adjusted total general revenues are $11.7 million below expectations for the month or a variance of 4.0%. The primary driver of this shortfall is personal income tax revenues, which are $9.9 million, or 9.4%, below expectations. Within personal income tax revenues, personal income tax withholding payments revenues are $11.4 million less than the estimate for August, a variance of 11.0 percent. In addition to the shortfall in personal income tax revenues, lottery transfer, estate and transfer tax, and departmental receipts revenues came in at least $1.0 million below expectations for the month. Substantive positive variances were reported in sales and use tax revenues, $2.7 million or 2.5%, and business corporation tax revenues, $1.8 million or 62.8%.

The entire report can be found on the Department of Revenue's web site at http://www.dor.ri.gov/revenue-analysis/2020, under 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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