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The U.S. government just notched its highest ever monthly deficit, with the red rink running to an estimated $229 billion in February.

The Congressional Budget Office, in a preliminary analysis, reported that the February 2012 deficit broke last year’s monthly record of $223 billion.

The office attributed the shortfall in part to a decline in revenue — mainly because of a $25 billion increase in income tax refunds thanks to disbursement timing issues.

According to the CBO, processing delays pushed refund payments that would have been distributed in January off into February. And the additional day in February this year allowed for extra refunds to be distributed during the month that otherwise would have been paid out in March.

The CBO projected that for the first five months of the fiscal year, the federal government is running a $578 billion deficit.

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