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Exchequer returns show slight fall in tax take for February

The total tax take in February 2013 was €2.042 billion – down by €186 million on the same month from last year.

Image: Images of Money via Flickr

THE GOVERNMENT’S TOTAL tax income for February was 8.4 per cent lower than the same period in 2012.

Exchequer returns for February published this afternoon by the Department of Finance show total state income for February was €2.042 billion – about €186 million lower than it had been in the same month in 2012.

Income tax receipts were 9.1 per cent lower in February 2013 than they had been the previous year, while excise duty was also down by 5.6 per cent.

The other two of the ‘big four’ taxes showed an increase, with VAT returns up by 16.3 per cent and corporation tax income up by 8.9 per cent.

In a statement the Department of Finance said much of the overall fall was down to a series of “one-off factors”, and cited a reclassification between PRSI and income tax which had inflated last year’s income tax figures as the reason for the drop in that category.

“On an underlying basis, income tax receipts were up 2.5 per cent,” it said.

There was no explanation given for the fall in excise duties, though the combined figures for January and February are 1.6 per cent higher than they had been in the opening two months of 2012.

Total ‘voted’ government spending – approved by the Dáil each year – fell by 2.8 per cent compared to February 2012, led by falling spending on social protection (where the number on the live register has fallen), and in health and education where significant numbers of staff retired in February 2012.

Exchequer borrowing increased by €25.8 billion last month, though this is almost totally down to the €25 billion in government bonds which were issued in exchange for the promissory note when IBRC was liquidated. This has no impact on general government debt, however.

The figures mean the Exchequer deficit for February stood at €1.64 billion, compared to €1.678 billion for February 2012.

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Gavan Reilly

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