In general, revenue is not defined specifically for budget law purposes. The more formal term is “governmental receipts”, which is defined as amounts generated through the sovereign power of the Federal Governments through taxation or other methods to compel the payments of sums. It may also be used to classify certain fees and gifts.

Revenue bills, under the terms of Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, must originate in the House of Representatives. If a bill including a revenue provision does not do so, it will be “blue slipped”. This means it is returned to the Senate without being considered by the House. 

GAO Glossary of Terms and Definition (September 2005)


Either of the following:

(1) As used in the congressional budget process, a synonym for governmental receipts. Revenues result from amounts that result from the government’s exercise of its sovereign power to tax or otherwise compel payment or from gifts to the government. Article I, Section 7, of the U.S. Constitution requires that revenue bills originate in the House of Representatives.

(2) As used in federal proprietary accounting, an inflow of resources that the government demands, earns, or receives by Revenue comes from two sources: exchange transactions and nonexchange transactions. Exchange revenues arise when a government entity provides goods and services to the public or to another government entity for a price. Another term for exchange revenue is “earned revenue.” Nonexchange revenues arise primarily from exercise of the government’s power to demand payments from the public (e.g., taxes, duties, fines, and penalties) but also include donations. The term “revenue” does not encompass all financing sources of government reporting entities, such as most of the appropriations they receive. Revenues result from (1) services performed by the federal government and (2) goods and other property delivered to purchasers. (See also Collections.)

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Section 7 of the United States Constitution

Section 7, Clause 1.

“All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.”

See the Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution

CRS Report – Blue-Slipping: Enforcing the Origination Clause in the House of Representatives (RS212360) Congressional Research Service, June 26, 2015

Revenues: Collections from the public arising from the Government’s sovereign power to tax. Revenues include individual and corporate income taxes, social insurance taxes (such as social security payroll taxes), excise taxes, estate and gift taxes, customs duties and the like.

[The Congressional Budget Process: An Explanation, Appendix J (Glossary), Committee on the Budget of the U.S. Senate, S. Prt. 105-67 (Revised December 1998).]


Reserve Fund


Revolving Fund