The classification of revenues which is used by the census bureau is similar to its classification of expenditures, in that it is largely for mechanical purposes. The reports must be based upon official records, and since there is a lack of uniformity in the various political divisions, a detailed classification would be impossible. Only a broad statement of receipts, therefore, has been attempted. A number of classes have been formed with a definite meaning assigned to the terms used to designate them. The meaning assigned has been taken from the usage of the best authorities on fiscal problems, modified in particular instances by some special requirement.
Revenue Receipts. - The two primary classes of revenues correspond to the two primary classes of expenditure. They are revenue receipts and nonrevenue receipts, The former applies to all money and wealth received by governmental bodies which increase the aggregate assets without increasing the liabilities. Under this head the following items are listed, a detailed discussion of which will be taken up in succeeding chapters: general property taxes; special property taxes; poll and occupation taxes; special assessments; business and income taxes; business license taxes; nonbusiness license taxes; fines, forfeits, and escheats; highway privileges; interest and rents; subventions and grants; donations and gifts; earnings of general departments; and earnings of public service enterprises.
Nonrevenue Receipts. - The class of nonrevenue receipts is described by the census bureau as follows: "The term nonrevenue receipts is applied to all receipts of a civil division other than its revenue receipts, as previously defined. The nonrevenue receipts of a fiscal year of any civil division comprise all receipts recorded during the year from (1) sales of investments and of supplies which have been purchased for sale; (2) issue of debt obligations and transactions which increase the indebtedness without the issue of formal debt obligations; (3) trust and agency transactions; (4) receipts offsetting outlays, as the collections of insurance to be applied to the reconstruction of destroyed property, refunds of erroneous payments, and receipts in error; and (5) such counterbalancing receipts as transfers between the funds or divisions of the governmental unit." From the nature of the items in this second classification, it is readily seen that it occupies a place of comparative unimportance. In so far as the discussion of succeeding chapters deals with revenue, therefore, the revenue receipts will occupy a place of much greater importance than nonrevenue receipts.