The federal government this January ran a surplus while collecting record total tax revenues for that month of the year, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.
January was the first month under the new tax law that President Donald Trump signed in December.
During January, the Treasury collected approximately $361,038,000,000 in total tax revenues and spent a total of approximately $311,802,000,000 to run a surplus of approximately $49,236,000,000.
Despite the monthly surplus of $49,236,000,000, the federal government is still running a deficit of approximately $175,718,000,000 for fiscal year 2018. That is because the government entered the month with a deficit of approximately $224,955,000,000.
The $361,038,000,000 in total taxes the Treasury collected this January was $11,747,870,000 more than the $349,290,130,000 that the Treasury collected in January of last year (in December 2017 dollars, adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator).
The Treasury not only collected record taxes in the month of January itself, but has now collected record tax revenues for the first four months of a fiscal year (October through January).
So far in fiscal 2018, the federal government has collected a record $1,130,550,000,000 in total taxes.
However, despite the record tax collections so far this fiscal year, and despite the one-month surplus in January, the federal government is still running a cumulative deficit in this fiscal year of $175,718,000,000.
That is because while the Treasury was collecting its record $1,130,550,000,000 in taxes from October through January, it was spending $1,306,268,000,000.
The levels of federal taxes and federal spending fluctuate from month to month, and it is not unusual—but not always the case—for the federal government to run a surplus in January.
Over the last twenty fiscal years, going back to 1999, the federal government has run surpluses in the month of January 13 times and deficits 7 times. Six of the Januaries in which the federal government ran deficits overlapped President Barack Obama’s time in office—including January 2009, the month Obama was inaugurated, and the Januaries in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016.
The federal government also ran a deficit in January 2004, when President George W. Bush was in office.
According to an analysis published on Dec. 21 by the New York Times, a “majority of provisions” in the tax law President Trump signed in December would “go into effect” in January. However, according to the Times’ analysis, February “is the earliest that most will see changes in their paychecks.”
The Internal Revenue Service released its new withholding tables, based on the tax-cut law, on January 11.
“The Internal Revenue Service today released Notice 1036, which updates the income-tax withholding tables for 2018 reflecting changes made by the tax reform legislation enacted last month,” the IRS said that day in a press release. “This is the first in a series of steps that IRS will take to help improve the accuracy of withholding following major changes made by the new tax law.
“The updated withholding information, posted today on IRS.gov, shows the new rates for employers to use during 2018,” said the IRS release. “Employers should begin using the 2018 withholding tables as soon as possible, but not later than Feb. 15, 2018. They should continue to use the 2017 withholding tables until implementing the 2018 withholding tables.”
The record total federal taxes the Treasury has collected in the first four months of this fiscal year have included $606,726,000,000 in individual income taxes; $75,533,000,000 in corporation income taxes; $371,931,000,000 in Social Security and other payroll taxes; $27,738,000,000 in excise taxes; $7,550,000,000 in estate and gift taxes; $12,634,000,000 in customs duties; and $32,637,000,000 in miscellaneous other receipts.