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Everything you need to know about Revenue Deficit

Budget deficits are situations where the government’s expenses surpass its budget receipts. A budget may have a variety of deficits, each of which is determined by the type of expenditure and receipts taken into account. Budget deficits are classified into three types revenue, fiscal and primary deficits.

What is a Revenue Shortfall?

A revenue deficit occurs when realized net income falls short of planned income. This arises if real revenue and/or actual expenditures do not match anticipated earnings and expenses. A revenue surplus, on the other hand, occurs when actual net income exceeds planned net income.

This suggests that the government’s profits are insufficient to support the day-to-day operations of this department. Whenever the government spends more than it earns, it is compelled to borrow money from other sources to meet its financial obligations.

Points Regarding the Revenue Deficits:

  1. It is a measurement of the government’s spending and the usage of many other sectors’ savings to support a part of its expenditures.
  2. It shows the government would need to borrow money to pay for its investments and consumption.
  3. It increases the government’s debts and interest liabilities, compelling it to curtail spending.

As a result, a revenue shortfall, referred to as a revenue deficit budget, had historically been divided into two accounts: income and capital.

Formula for Revenue Deficit

Revenue Deficit = Revenue expenditure – Revenue receipt


Total Revenue expenditure – (Tax revenue + non-tax revenue) = Revenue deficit

The word “revenue deficit” refers to the gap between tax received and expenditures by the government. Revenue receipts, on the other hand, do not result in a liability or an asset loss. It is separated into two parts:

1. Receipt for taxes (direct tax and indirect tax)

2. Income from non-taxable resources

Spending that does not result in the development of assets or the reduction of obligations is referred to as expenditure. it is divided into two parts:

1. Plan expenditure and revenues

2. Non-plan expenditure of revenue

What Exactly is a Revenue Account? 

The current account revenue, which includes tax and non-tax income from the government, is referred to as the Revenue account. Tax receipts are the funds earned by the government’s different taxes, such as income tax, gift tax, customs duty, GST, etc.

Non-tax revenues include administrative revenue, commercial revenue from public sector activities, donations, contributions, penalties, money from the sales spectrum, escheat, and fees such as court fees, fines, etc.

A type of government spending used to purchase goods and services for consumption during a specific fiscal year is expenditure on the revenue account. As a result, this type of spending is known as consumption expenditure. This includes things like salaries, interest payments, and subsidies.

The Revenue Shortfall

A revenue deficit, which is not confused with a fiscal deficit, measures the difference between projected and real revenues. A revenue shortfall suggests that the revenue of a corporation or government is inadequate to finance its basic activities. To make up for the drop in revenue, it may borrow money or sell the existing assets.

A government may raise taxes or cut spending to cover a revenue shortfall. Similarly, a company with a revenue shortfall might improve its profitability by cutting variable expenditures like materials and personnel. It is more challenging to alter most fixed expenditures because they are established by the contracts, for example, building leases.

How the Current Budget Revenue Deficit Differs from the Fiscal Deficit

The current budget’s revenue deficit reflects debt due to all over-income receipts and proposed spending. A revenue shortfall occurs when revenue expenditure exceeds revenue collection. This section includes all transactions affecting the government’s current revenue and spending.

On the other hand, the fiscal deficit is a metric that shows the government’s dependence on borrowing money. The fiscal deficits represent the government’s anticipated borrowing; the greater the fiscal deficit, the greater the money borrowed by the government.

Consequences of Revenue Deficit

Asset depreciation

The government must borrow money or sell assets to cover its expenses on revenue. They could easily manage some of their revenue shortfall in this manner.

Loss of Social Assistance

The government may be compelled to reduce spending on welfare programs and public subsidies, which would end social assistance.

Liabilities have Decreased, while Credit Worthiness Declined

The government may be forced to borrow money from the general public, the RBI, the World Bank, and other institutions, which raises obligations while decreasing creditworthiness.


The government can choose to disinvest by selling a stake in public sector companies to private individuals or foreign companies.


The government uses capital revenues to fund consumer expenditures. At the same time, borrowed money does not constitute an investment. It is spent, resulting in inflation.

An Instance of a drop in Revenue

Company XYZ expected $100 Million in sales and $80 Million in costs in 2018, resulting in an income of $20 Million. The company’s actual revenue was $83 Million, resulting in a $2 Million realized net income at the end of the year. This resulted in a revenue deficit of $18 Million.

The estimates of revenue and expenditure were incorrect, which may have harmed operations in the future and cash flows. The ability to finance essential public expenditures like roads and schools may be compromised if the government in question were the subject of this.

Final Thoughts

A deficit that can be made up with capital receipts like borrowing is called a “revenue deficit”. It is a future debt obligation that has nothing to do with the investment.

The government may increase taxes or cut spending to compensate for a revenue shortfall. The revenue imbalance might lower the government’s credit rating if not corrected. The government anticipated sending money may be in jeopardy if there isn’t enough money to cover most of the revenue deficit.

The government ought to make every effort to cut costs and cut spending that isn’t necessary. The government may avoid a revenue deficit by identifying and implementing cost-cutting measures. The revenue deficit reflects the government dissaving on account of government because the government must replace the uncovered difference with the capital receipts, either through borrowing or sales of its assets.

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