Boosted by strong tax collections in all major revenue categories and lower-than-expected income tax refunds, Arkansas’ March revenue report reflected a strong month of economic activity.
Net available general revenues – the amount remaining after mandatory allocations – totaled $356.3 million for March, 12.8% above last year’s levels and $13.5% above forecast.
“All major revenue categories came in on forecast or above in March,” noted Dr. John Shelnutt, head of the Department of Finance and Administration’s Economic Analysis & Tax Research division.
A breakdown of revenue collections by category during the month included:
March Individual Income Tax collections totaled $221.8 million. Collections increased by $18.8 million, or 9.2 percent, compared to last year. With respect to the forecast, collections are $15.5 million or 7.5 percent above forecast. Individual withholding gained 6.4 percent compared to last year.
March Individual Income Tax refunds totaled $100.6 million, $20.2 million below last year and also $20.2 million below forecast. Low growth in refunds followed high growth in the prior month. Less volatility is expected as refunds return to a normal filing period. In March, 15.1 percent fewer refunds were processed than in March 2011 and the average refund amount was 2.5 percent below last year.
March Gross Receipts collections totaled $174.7 million, an increase of $8.2 million or 5.0 percent from last year. Collections were above monthly forecast levels by $2.9 million or 1.7 percent. March gross receipts collections, which include sales and use taxes, reflect collections from retailers and businesses in February 2012.
March Corporate Income Tax collections totaled $59.7 million, an increase of $1.6 million or 2.8 percent from year earlier levels, and were equal to forecast levels for the month. Corporate income tax filings are a volatile component of general revenue.
The March report brought year-to-date net available general revenues for the state to $3.347 billion, up $94.7 million, or 2.9 percent above year ago levels. Nine months into the fiscal year, net available general revenue is above forecast by $62.6 million or 1.9 percent.
In a Tuesday press conference, Gov. Mike Beebe said he was pleased with the March report, but he urged caution that seasonal variances may be affecting the numbers.
Year-to-date individual income tax collections totaled $1.97 billion, $99.9 million or 5.3 percent above last year’s collections and $64.8 million or 3.4 percent above forecast.
Year-to-date corporate revenues totaled $293.8 million, an increase of $37.9 million or 14.8 percent from year-to-date last year. Corporate income is above forecast by $35.9 million or 13.9 percent.
Year-to-date gross receipts collections totaled $1.59 billion, an increase of $26.1 million or 1.7 percent from last year and $22.2 million or 1.4 percent below forecast.