Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar today said State Sales Tax Revenue totaled $2.63 billion in March, 2.4% less than in March 2020. However, this amount includes some revenue remitted in March, which in normal circumstances would have been received by the state in February.
The majority of March sales tax revenue is based on sales made in February and remitted to the agency in March. This year, however, the Feb. 22 due date for state taxes and fees to be reported and paid was extended by one week, to March 1, due to the effects of the winter storm.
After adjusting the March totals to account for March 1 activity, March sales tax revenue totaled $2.46 billion, down 8.6% from March 2020.
While the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic continued to depress some sources of revenue, others are now exhibiting year-over-year gains when compared to a year ago when the effects of the pandemic had started to take hold.
“Adjusted for the effects of delayed payments due to the late February winter weather disaster, March state sales tax collections continued to slump below levels of a year ago,” Hegar said.
“Collections from all major sectors other than retail trade and restaurants continued to decline, led by depressed receipts from oil- and gas-related businesses.
“Some of the trends established during the COVID-19 pandemic continued, as remittances from online retailers, building materials stores and sporting goods stores continued to show strong growth over the previous year. Clothing and accessories stores and furniture stores showed declines, likely due to store closures caused by widespread power outages," said the Comptroller.
“Tax receipts from restaurants were up over the previous year’s levels for the first time since onset of the pandemic, but the increase reflects the first month affected by the pandemic, as restaurant activity began to slow in the latter half of February 2020.”
Total sales tax revenue for the three months ending in March 2021 was down 5.3% compared to the same period a year ago. Sales tax is the largest source of state funding for the state budget, accounting for 59% of all tax collections.
Texas collected the following revenue from other major taxes, some of which also were affected by the extension of the Feb. 22 deadline:
- Motor Vehicle Sales & Rental Taxes — $467 million, up 20.2% from March 2020, but accounting for March 1 activity, total collections were $466 million, up 19.9% from March 2020
- Motor Fuel Taxes — $232 million, down 20.8% from March 2020, due to reduced driving during the winter storm in February
- Oil Production Tax — $237 million, down 22.4% from March 2020
- Natural Gas Production Tax — $139 million, up 36.6% from March 2020, but accounting for March 1 activity, total collections were $138 million, up 34% from March 2020
- Hotel Occupancy Tax — $32 million, down 29.1% from March 2020, but after accounting for March 1 activity, total collections were $30 million, down 34.9% from March 2020, and
- Alcoholic Beverage Taxes — $97 million, up 12.4% from March 2020, but after accounting for March 1 activity, total collections were $83 million, down 3.1% from March 2020