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Tax revenues in fiscal 2001 came to 47.943 trillion yen, falling 1.681 trillion yen short of government projections, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report Thursday.

The shortfall was blamed on a decrease in revenues from corporate and consumption taxes. Total revenues to March 31 were down 5.5 percent from the previous year.

It was the first time the figure fell below official projections in three years, despite the government’s downward revision of its estimate by 1.1 trillion yen to 49.625 trillion yen.

The decline left the 2001 general account short 4.7 billion yen on a preliminary basis, according to the ministry.

Finance Ministry officials stressed the numbers are preliminary, and said the general account — the main budget for government operations — might still be balanced by taking yet-to-be computed revenues into consideration in the final tax revenue figures, due out at the end of the month.

If not, it would be the first time in four years for the account to fall into a deficit. The government would have to compensate by using its national debt reserves.

Revenues from corporate taxes for the fiscal year totaled 10.257 trillion yen, 935.1 billion yen below the government’s projection and 12.7 percent below the previous year’s level.

Consumption tax revenues came to 9.763 trillion yen, falling 365.2 billion yen short of the estimate.

On the reasons for the lower-than-expected tax revenues, a ministry official cited worsening corporate performance and sluggish personal consumption.

However, nontax revenues exceeded the government’s projections by 735 billion yen, mainly because of an increase in the money the Bank of Japan paid to the state.

The central bank funneled 889.5 billion yen more than initial estimates into the nation’s coffers after the weakening yen increased the yen-denominated value of the bank’s assets held in foreign currencies.

On the expenditure side, the government was able to save 455.1 billion yen in outlays for government bond servicing due to lower interest rates, the official said.

In a separate report, the ministry said tax revenues for May dropped 23.5 percent to 1.18 trillion yen.

Personal income tax revenues in the month dropped 29.1 percent from the year before to 896.79 billion yen. The fall came after a surge last year in taxes on interest income linked to the maturity of a large number of postal savings deposits.

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