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September 7, 2023

Early fiscal 2024 tax collections trailing benchmarks

A large brick building with columns in front and a gold dome on top with a long staircase leading up to it and an American flag on the left hand side. Photo | Courtesy of Commonwealth of Massachusetts Massachusetts State House

State tax collectors raked in $2.429 billion in August, a 6.6 percent drop from last August that leaves the state short of both its monthly and year-to-date expectations.

The Department of Revenue said Wednesday that August collections were $172 million or 6.6 percent less than actual collections in August 2022 and $18 million or 0.7 percent below the monthly benchmark. Through the first two months of fiscal 2024, DOR has hauled in $5.096 billion, which is $89 million or 1.8 percent more than collections during the same time period in fiscal 2023, but $21 million or 0.4 percent less than the year-to-date benchmark.

"August revenue included decreases relative to August 2022 collections in withholding, non-withheld income, sales and use tax, corporate and business tax, and 'all other' tax," Revenue Commissioner Geoffrey Snyder said. "The decreases in withholding and sales and use tax were due, in part, to typical timing factors in collections. The decrease in 'all other' tax is mostly due to a decrease in estate tax, a category that tends to fluctuate."

DOR did not get into specifics, but said it estimates that $150 million of August's year-over-year decrease "reflects a shift in sales and use and withholding collections between months because of timing." Without that shift, the agency said, August 2023 revenue would be about $22 million or 0.8 percent less than actual collections in August 2022.

August typically generates roughly 6.7 percent of the state's annual revenue, DOR said. September revenues will be due from DOR by Oct. 4 and the administration has established a benchmark of $4.337 billion for the month's collections. That would be $139 million above actual September 2022 collections.

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