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West Virginia tax collection in April topped estimates by a fraction of a percent, a notable accomplishment, considering the deadline for filing state income taxes was pushed back from April 15 to May 17.

April’s general revenue collection of $539.76 million topped estimates by $1.89 million, even as the income tax filing delay caused personal income tax collection of $241 million to fall $81.19 million short of projections.

An upturn in consumer sales tax collection — fueled by $1,400 federal stimulus checks that went out to most West Virginians in March — helped make up some of the slack, with $126.08 million of sales tax collection topping estimates by $22.28 million.

Corporate net taxes also far exceeded estimates, with $63.34 million of collection exceeding estimates by $40.84 million.

Severance tax collection, which has underperformed in recent years as coal production and natural gas prices have waned, topped expectations in April, with $29.06 million of collection exceeding estimates by $14.16 million.

Tobacco tax collection also exceeded estimates for the month, by $3.8 million, at $16.1 million, benefiting from an increase in March sales likely driven by a proposal from Gov. Jim Justice to increase the state cigarette tax from $1.20 to $2.25 a pack.

With two months remaining in the 2020-21 budget year, year-to-date revenue collection of $4.00 billion put the state in the black by $237.31 million. However, part of that surplus is the result of lowering revenue projections from fiscal 2019-20 by $126.58 million, from $3.89 billion in 2019-20 to $3.76 billion for the current budget year.

Reach Phil Kabler at, 304-348-1220 or follow @PhilKabler on Twitter.

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