The U.S. budget had a surplus in January, with government coffers swelling to $3 billion, above expectations of a $2 billion deficit, Treasury Department data showed on Tuesday.
No specific reason was given for why Treasury's revenues exceeded its spending in January. But in its estimate last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said the Treasury got an extra $9 billion in taxes after a payroll tax reduction expired on Jan. 1 following the last-minute "fiscal cliff" deal.
The January surplus means the government's cumulative deficit for the fiscal year, which starts in October, is $290 billion, 17 percent lower than the comparable first four months of fiscal 2012.
During fiscal 2012 which ended Sept. 30, the budget deficit totaled $1.089 trillion.
(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Andrea Ricci)