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Massachusetts revenue collections again beat expectations in May as state rakes in billions



Chris Lisinski

The good times continue to roll for Massachusetts tax collectors and for the lawmakers who remain on track to be gifted a massive election-year surplus.

Baker administration officials announced Friday that the Department of Revenue hauled in $2.478 billion in May, $186 million or 8 percent more than the revised monthly benchmark after accounting for a new elective pass-through entity excise that affected collections. May 2022 revenues dropped compared to last year, when DOR took in just more than $4 billion, but officials said that decline is largely because of one-time changes in the annual income tax filing timeline made in 2021.

“The decrease in May 2022 revenue in comparison to May 2021 is primarily due to an expected decline in income tax return payments, which is largely attributable to the extension of last year’s income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021,” DOR Commissioner Geoffrey Snyder said. “The decrease in income tax return payments was partially offset by increases in other major tax categories including withholding, sales and use tax, and ‘all other’ tax.”

Massachusetts so far has collected $36.969 billion in tax revenue through the first 11 months of fiscal 2022. After adjusting for the new excise, that pot stands $4.726 billion or 15.5 percent higher than the same period in fiscal year 2021 as well as $1.965 billion or 5.9 percent more than the revised year-to-date benchmark. The Bay State would only need to bring in a little less than $700 million in taxes in June to surpass the third and latest benchmark upgrade of $37.666 billion, which the Baker administration set in mid-May after a string of way-above-projected monthly collections.

Baker has been pushing for months to enact $700 million in tax relief, including reforms to the capital gains and estate tax as well as breaks for renters, seniors and low-income residents. Democrats who control the House and Senate have not embraced Baker’s push, and while they say they intend to advance a tax relief package, they have yet to outline any specific plans.

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