Montana’s budget picture improves, but with caveat

Montana tax collections are on track to meet or exceed projections, but the numbers may be skewed by early filers looking to beat changes to the federal tax law, legislative analysts said Tuesday.

The update released by the Legislative Fiscal Division projects tax collections of $4 million to $13 million above the $2.4 billion forecast in the 2018-2019 budget.

However, those projections include a spike in the number of people paying their individual income taxes and property taxes at the end of 2017. Many were looking to avoid a new $10,000 cap in federal deductions for state and local taxes that was included in the tax reform bill passed by Congress.

That means the revenue could drop off in the coming weeks and months, and still fall short of the estimate adopted last year.