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Noonan hails 'historic high' in exchequer returns as State collects more tax than it thought in 2016

Corporation tax returns were a full €737 million higher than expected in 2016.

MINISTER FOR FINANCE Michael Noonan has welcomed the figures on exchequer returns, which shows that the government collected more money in tax than it expected to last year, as a “historic high”.

While the collection of tax revenue was over €600 million more than the Department of Finance expected, the deficit in the Exchequer increased by €949 million over the last year too.

The main area that exceeded expectations was corporation tax which was 11%, or €737 million, higher than expected.

Some of the other key features from the 2016 returns include:

  • Ireland collected €47.86 billion in tax last year, an extra €639 million higher than the department forecast
  • This was, however, lower than the €48.1 billion proposed in Budget 2017
  • There was a shortfall in tax receipts in December, which were €151 million (4.5%) lower than expected
  • The government collected €174 million more in income tax than it expected
  • Its returns on VAT, however, were 3.4% (or €439 million) lower than originally thought
  • Stamp duties, excise duties and local property tax were all higher than expected.

Noonan commented:

Our citizens deserve quality public services to help develop a fairer Ireland. The amount of tax collected in 2016 is at an historic high.

“It has provided not only for the extra expenditure incurred in 2016 but for the substantial tax reductions announced in the Budget in October 2015 and delivered during the course of 2016.”

He added that the government was engaging in “prudent and responsible” spending as part of its commitment to improve public services.

Davy analyst David McNamara said that the figures show that the government is “well on track to hit its deficit forecast of 0.9% of GDP”.

He added that corporation tax was a “key factor in tax outperformance”.

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