Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue Tuesday announced that net revenue collections for March totaled $998.24 million compared to $987.98 million in March 2009, an increase of 1%. The slight rise was the first monthly increase since November 2008.

"While we are always cautious about reading too much into a single month's revenue report, the March numbers are certainly encouraging," Perdue said.

Gross tax collections were up $141 million in March, an increase of 7.9%. However, most of that increase was returned to taxpayers in refund checks and to local jurisdictions through sales tax distributions, official said.

The Department of Revenue processed 783,276 tax returns in March, up 132,000 from a year ago. The increase in returns amounted to an additional $90.1 million in refund payments over the prior year.

Gross sales tax collections were $724 million, or 1% higher than in March 2009. Corporate income tax revenue saw net growth of $12 million, a 9.8% rise. Since the July 1 beginning of the fiscal year overall revenue collections totaled $10.26 billion, a decrease of 11.5% compared to the same period in 2009.

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