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.
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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)