Massachusetts Tax Collections Down 13.1 Percent In May

Dave Copeland

MASSACHUSETTS —Massachusetts collected $1.74 billion in taxes during the month of May, 13.1 percent below the amount it collected in May 2019, as the coronavirus shutdown continued to wreak havoc on the state budget.

The May collections were $320 million, or 15.6 percent lower than the benchmark set by state budget forecasters. During the first five months of 2020, tax collections are down 6.5 percent to $24.78 billion during the same five-month period in 2019.

The coronavirus has upended the state budget process. Income tax payments, sales taxes and corporate and business taxes were all down in May. The state did see normal levels in withholding taxes, in part because of the withholding of unemployment insurance benefits in corporate payrolls.

The state is also seeing lower tax collection levels because it extended the state tax filing deadline to July 15 from April 15. The Department of Revenue said tax filings were down 20 percent on May 31 from the year-ago period.

Among the hardest hit areas:

  • Income tax returns and bills were $74 million in May, down 65.1 percent.
  • Sales taxes were down 24.8 percent to $437 million.
  • Corporate and business tax collections fell 56.7 percent to $37 million.
  • "Other" tax collections were $141 million, down 28.8 percent from a year ago.

State tax collections were slightly better than they were in April, the first full month of the coronavirus shutdown of the state economy. In April, Massachusetts tax collections were54 percent lower than April 2019.

The state has $3.5 billion in its stabilization fund that can be tapped to cover shortfalls. The state could also see some of the shortfall covered as people file income tax returns ahead of the new July 15 deadline.

This article originally appeared on the Boston Patch