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.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Surge in Tax Receipts

Today was very strong in terms of California's tax take, according to preliminary figures. April 16 receipts of California's three major revenue engines -- personal income taxes (PIT), corporate income taxes, and retail sales receipts -- reached $3.1 billion. This brings the month-to-date total to $7.3 billion, or 56%, of the total expected for the month.

Today's collection of PIT led the surge, totaling $2.5 billion for the day. This was virtually identical to last year's tax take and appears surprising since a change in tax rates probably boosted last April's figure. Some caution is warranted due to revisions that could take place tonight, but if the numbers stand close to this reading it is good news for California's bottom line.

Also worth noting: Not only individuals and households filed their income tax returns yesterday. Sole proprietorships file under the income tax system as well. In 2011, 2.2 million sole proprietorships filed with FTB, and were assessed $9.8 billion in taxes. Of this tax assessed, service firms account for about $5.8 billion (59 percent). These firms could provide technical, scientific, administrative or health services. Firms specializing in finance, investment and real estate owed $1.4 billion (14 percent), while firms specializing in retail and wholesale trade had assessments of about $600 million (6 percent). FTB assessed another 500,000 firms $1.1 billion (11 percent), but FTB was unable to determine the nature of the sole proprietorship's business.

See How 'Tax Gap' Affects State

Hey! You've got to hide your love away. The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) reports that California taxpayers underreport and underpay about $10 billion in "personal and business taxes" each year. Most of the yearly "tax gap" -- $8 billion -- occurs when taxpayers file their return but either underreport their income or overstate their deductions. FTB ascribes another $1 billion of the annual gap to underpayments. The agency also believes that collections fall short by another $1 billion each year because taxpayers fail to file a timely tax return.
The tax board notes that the tax gap affects all Californians, saying that when some taxpayers fail "to pay what they owe [then] the rest of us bear an additional burden. This [higher burden] can come in the form of higher fees and taxes, fewer government services, or budget deficits -- or all three."

A Billion Dollars Arrive on April 15

They may have been procrastinating, but California taxpayers came through on April 15th as they paid $1.0 billion in estimated and final tax payments. With refunds and withholding taxes for the day offsetting each other, net personal income tax (PIT) receipts also equaled $1.0 billion.  This compared with last year's April 15th figure of $850 million.

Yesterday's tax surge put the State's cash tally in terms of its three major revenue sources -- PIT, corporate income, and sales taxes -- at about $67.7 billion for the fiscal year to date (July 1, 2013 through April 15, 2014). This is $1.6 billion more than projected based on the Governor's Budget released in January.

PIT is running about $1.0 billion, or 2.2%, above projections. Corporate tax revenues are more than $700 million, or 16.8%, above expectations. Retail sales are the only category still behind forecasts, although the 0.7% miss amounts to only about $100 million.
Also worth noting: Taxpayers pay a rising tax rate on incremental increases of income. Because of the rising rates, high-income taxpayers will not pay the topmost tax rate on all their income today. Consider for example, the effective tax rate paid in 2011 by the 671,290 taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes above $200,000.(Note: 2011 reflects a tax year prior to the imposition of the Proposition 30 levy.) Of these high-income taxpayers, 334,834 (50 percent) paid at a tax rate between 5.0 percent and 6.9 percent. Another 228,388 (34 percent) paid between 7.0 percent and 8.9 percent.  Fewer than 25,000 taxpayers (4 percent) paid at a tax rate exceeding 8.9 percent. At the other end of the scale, 83,549 high-income taxpayers (12 percent) paid a tax rate of between 0.0 percent and 4.9 percent.