The federal government incurred a budget deficit of $721 billion in the first seven months of fiscal year 2012, CBO estimates in its latest Monthly Budget Review—$149 billion less than the shortfall reported during the same period last year. Without shifts in the timing of certain payments, however, the deficit so far this year would have been only $92 billion smaller.
Because of the large inflows of tax revenues, the federal government usually runs a budget surplus in April—though that did not occur in 2009, 2010, and 2011. This April, the Treasury realized a surplus of $58 billion, CBO estimates, in contrast with the $40 billion deficit reported for the same month last year. The results in both years were influenced by timing shifts of certain payments; adjusted for those shifts, the surplus in April 2012 would have been $27 billion, compared with a deficit of $13 billion in April 2011.
Receipts this April were $319 billion—$30 billion, or 10 percent, higher than collections last April, CBO estimates. The largest boost to net receipts came from a $14 billion decline in the amount of refunds issued. Refunds were lower, in large part, because some that ordinarily would have been recorded in April were made in prior months.
Withheld income and payroll taxes rose by $10 billion (or 7 percent), while nonwithheld receipts from those sources, largely from tax filings, rose by just $2 billion (or 1 percent). In addition, net corporate income tax receipts were $3 billion higher, and all other receipts $1 billion higher, on net, in April 2012 than in April 2011.
Including collections associated with the mid-April filing deadline, receipts through the first seven months were about $1.38 trillion—$74 billion higher than receipts recorded in the same period last year, CBO estimates. Total receipts are running a bit lower than what CBO anticipated when it prepared its most recent budget projections in March. Still, through April:
Spending for the first seven months totaled $2.1 trillion, about the same as it was during the same period last year, after the shifts in the timing of certain payments are taken into account. (The year-over-year changes discussed below reflect adjustments for those shifts.)
By CBO's estimates, outlays declined for several major categories of spending:
For some categories and programs, spending was greater:
The Monthly Budget Review presents CBO's estimates based on the Daily Treasury Statements issued by the Treasury Department. It was prepared by Elizabeth Cove Delisle, Barbara Edwards, Daniel Hoople, David Rafferty, and Joshua Shakin.