Despite COVID-19 Shutdowns, Preliminary Figures Show State Tax Collections Increased

Despite concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic — and subsequent shutdown of businesses — would drastically limit state tax revenue, Wisconsin’s latest tax collections report shows a slight increase from last year.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau on Monday reported state tax collections totaled more than $17.5 billion in the 2019-20 fiscal year, a 1.1% increase from the previous year. That’s about $112.6 million, or only 0.6%, less than projected in January, according to the state Department of Revenue.

“I think we can say the collections were better than folks anticipated as we went through these last months, especially in the beginning of the pandemic,” LFB director Bob Lang said Monday.

The tax filing date for individual and corporate taxes was shifted from April to July, and Lang said tax collections “got a little stronger and stronger each month.”

A final report released in October will include expenditures and revenues, but Lang said he doesn’t anticipate any major changes and the state will likely end the fiscal year with “a relatively large balance.”