Georgia tax revenues fall off Covid-19 cliff

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State collects nearly 36% less compared to April a year ago — 

Not just businesses are suffering from the coronavirus shutdown. In what is likely of a harbinger of tough times to come, the state of Georgia’s April net tax collections totaled nearly $1.84 billion for a decrease of $1.03 billion, or -35.9 percent, compared to April 2019 when net tax collections totaled $2.87 billion.

Year-to-date net tax collections totaled $19.23 billion for a decrease of nearly $680 million, or -3.4 percent, compared to the previous fiscal year (FY) when net tax revenues totaled $19.91 billion.

Changes within the following tax categories for April are largely attributable to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the shifting of payment deadlines related to Motor Vehicle, Corporate Tax, and especially Individual Income Tax have had a profound impact on typical state revenue collection activity, resulting in the dramatic reduction of April and year-to-date FY 2020 tax revenues as outlined below.

Individual Income Tax: Individual Income Tax collections for April declined by $732 million, or -46.2 percent, down from April 2019 when net Individual Tax revenues totaled roughly $1.58 billion. Individual Income Tax refunds issued – net of voided checks – decreased by $253.6 million or -44.3 percent. Individual Income Tax Return payments decreased by $830.9 million, or -88.9 percent, from last year. Individual Withholding payments for the month were up $15.4 million, or 1.6 percent, over last year. All other categories, including non-resident income tax payments, were down a combined $170.1 million.

Sales and Use Tax: Gross Sales and Use Tax collections totaled $995.7 million for the month, which was a decrease of roughly $107 million, or -9.7 percent, compared to April 2019. Net Sales and Use Tax declined by $82.4 million, or -14.3 percent, compared to FY 2019, when net sales tax totaled $574.6 million. The adjusted Sales Tax distribution to local governments totaled $491.4 million for a decrease of $33.4 million, or -6.4 percent, from April 2019. Lastly, Sales Tax Refunds increased by nearly $8.8 million compared to FY 2019.

Corporate Income Tax: Net Corporate Income Tax collections decreased by nearly $219.1 million, or -70.6 percent, compared to FY 2019 when net Corporate Tax revenues totaled $310.4 million. Corporate Income Tax refunds – net of voids – decreased by $11.6 million, or -51.4 percent, from last year. Corporate Income Tax Estimated payments received were down $122.7 million or -64.5 percent. Corporate Income Tax Return payments decreased by $99.4 million or -78.3 percent. All other Corporate Tax types, including S-Corp tax payments, were down a combined $8.6 million.

Motor Fuel Taxes: Motor Fuel Tax collections increased by $80.3 million, or 50.9 percent, compared to FY 2019 on the strength of larger than ordinary, one-time settlement payments resulting from ongoing audit activities.

Motor Vehicle – Tag & Title Fees: Motor Vehicle Tag & Title Fees fell by roughly $16.3 million, or -43.4 percent, in April while Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) collections declined by $22.7 million, or -30.7 percent, compared to FY 2019.