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the books

The Government's tax take is up €415 million on this time last year

The Exchequer deficit for the first three months is at €2.3 billion, compared to €3.7 billion this time last year. Michael Noonan says it’s a ‘solid start’.

Updated at 5.30pm

THE LATEST LOOK at the Government’s accounts shows a 4.7 per cent increase in the amount taken of tax taken in over the last 12 months. Tax revenue at the end of Quarter 1 2014 was up €415 , compared to the same time last year.

The deficit now stands at €2,316 million: an improvement of €1,379 million compared to Q1 2013, when it was €3.7 billion.

Total tax revenue was €9,232 million, according to the quarterly Exchequer Returns statement released this afternoon.

Here’s the full breakdown of figures from the Department of Finance:

  • Income tax totalled €3,795 million to end March, an increase of €129 million (3.5 per cent) year-on-year and up €4 million on target.
  • VAT receipts for the year to date totalled €3,509 million, up €56 million (1.6 per cent) on target —- an increase of €210 million (6.4 per cent) on the same period last year.
  • Corporation tax receipts of €256 million to end-March were €138 million (35.1 per cent) down year-on-year — but €38 million (17.5%) above profile. (According to the Dept: ‘The year-on-year performance is primarily driven by a non-recurring, unexpected payment from a large company in 2013 of €140m’.)
  • Excise duties, at €1,104 million for the first 3 months of the year, are €114 million (11.5 per cent) up year-on-year and up €111 million (11.2 per cent) against profile.
  • Stamp Duties were down €155 million (50.6 per cent) year-on-year, to €151 million, but up €15 million (11.2 per cent) on target.
  • Capital Gains Tax was up €28 million (40.9 per cent) year-on-year, to €98 million, which is €4 million (4.3 per cent) above target.
  • Local Property Tax receipts of €214 million were collected to end-March, up €2 million (1.1 per cent) on profile. [From the Dept: 'Significant property tax monies were received in March (€157m), most of which can be attributed to the receipt of the Single Debit Authority related payments'.]
  • Taken together, the remaining smaller tax-heads – Customs and CAT – were up €7 million (9%) year-on-year, but down €1 million (1.7%) on profile.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s describing it as a “solid start to the year”:

Overall, the tax performance for the first quarter of the year is in line with expectations, with headline tax revenues coming in nearly 3% ahead of profile.

[...] we are starting to see the impact of strong employment growth feeding through into income tax receipts, which is up €129 million on last year.

While according to Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin, “expenditure overall is on target and in line with expectations”:

It is, however, early in the year and the Government is aware of the continuing need to keep overall expenditure on profile.
According to Peter Vale, a tax partner at Grant Thornton:
Compliance with the property tax has exceeded expectations and is far higher than compliance with the now redundant household charge, further evidence perhaps of the greater fear associated with being pursued by the Revenue Commissioners.

The concern that property tax would drag down consumer spending doesn’t seem to have been borne out thus far.

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