California State Controller John Chiang offers this daily tax tracker to follow personal income taxes, sales and use taxes and corporate taxes -- the three major sources of revenue for the State.

The site will be updated regularly throughout each business day. Preliminary posts use dollar figures from tax administration agencies, while the following day the Controller will post reconciled (actual cash) figures. The latest figures are always available via direct download. Preliminary sales tax figures, along with personal income tax withholdings will be available by 10:30 a.m., followed by total personal income and corporate tax receipts, along with final sales tax numbers between 1:30 and 4:00 p.m. the same business day.

The chart on the right of this screen tracks the cumulative total of income, sales and corporate tax and compares it against estimated benchmarks for the month.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tax Season Begins

Although some taxpayers can procrastinate, April has started with a sizable inflow.  Personal income taxes net of refunds totaled $458 million on April 1.  This number included money received during the weekend and Monday’s Cesar Chavez holiday.  Adding in a small amount of corporate taxes and retail tax receipts, the total of California’s three major resources clocked in at $513 million.  One-half billion dollars is a good start to reaching the state’s forecast goal of about $13 billion for April as a whole.

What a difference a day makes…  Final payments on the corporate tax are due on March 15, so each year there is a flurry of payment and processing activity at the Franchise Tax Board immediately after the Ides of March.  This year, over 50 percent of all the March collections for this tax were reported on just two days—March 16 and 17.  This pattern is persistent, with small variations.  For example in 2013, a similar percentage of all collections were reported on March 17 and 18.  We will see a similar flurry of activity for individuals around the middle of this month as April 15 appears.

April 1

California consumers provided the state’s tax coffers with a slow inflow of receipts for the first day of April.  Preliminary numbers show that sales tax receipts, which reflected sales for both the weekend and Monday (government offices were closed for the Cesar Chavez Holiday), totaled $10.3 million.  This was less than half, or $12.7 below estimates for the day.
The state’s revenue estimators monitor historical and current revenue trends throughout the year and update their revenue estimates formally three times a year.  To make each update they rely on recent tax and economic activity to fine-tune their estimates for the current- and budget-year.  The May Revision changes, due on or before May 14 of each year, tend to be the most significant. 

March Goes Out Like a Lion

California’s tax receipts ended March more like a lion than a lamb, surpassing the $6 billion mark and beating both last year’s numbers and the projected total for this year by wide margins.

Totaling $6.1 billion, tax revenues from the state’s main three sources (personal income, corporate income, and sales tax) were nearly $400 million above estimates made for March earlier this year as part of the Governor’s Budget.  The number was close to $600 million higher than the total generated by the economy a year ago.  This year’s performance reflects the recovery in California’s economy and the strong gains in stock prices and home values.  Notably, all three major California sources joined in outperforming this year’s estimates and the year-ago figures.

April 2014 tax reporting not only helps budget writers monitor actual receipts for the 2013 tax year, it informs their thinking about the likely taxpayer behavior in 2014 and helps model likely tax receipts in April 2015.  For example, it tells them something about the likely tax base: More than 60 percent of all income tax collections are derived from wages and salaries.  If the 2013 tax returns show an increase in the wage and salary base, it is likely that the increase will continue in 2014.