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Counting the pennies: where your tax money will go in 2013

The government’s going to spend €69 billion in total next year. So where does the average taxpayer’s money go?

Image: Alexander Raths via Shutterstock

SO – THE SPEECHES have been made, the documents published and pored over, and the country’s TDs have gone up and down the steps of the Dáil chamber to cast their votes.

But at the end of the day, the Budget is about deciding where the government is going to spend its money, and how it’s going to get it it in the first place.

To try and illustrate exactly where the country spends its money, we’ve pored over the Budget documents to compile an authoritative list of areas in which the State does its spending for 2012.

To give the best possible illustration of where the money goes, we’ve tried – as best as we can – to use the tax contributed by the average taxpayer.

The latest CSO statistics on income showed that the average weekly wage – in the third quarter of 2012, at least – was €694.96. On an annual basis, this translates to €36,137.92 per year.

It gets complicated if you’re married, have children, or have certain entitlements like mortgage interest relief… but assuming you’re single, you rent and you don’t have kids, your total tax bill – including income tax, USC and PRSI – is €7,924 (according to our Budget Calculator 2013).

(For the sake of simplicity we’re ignoring the tax you pay through other means – like the property tax, the excise duty on tobacco, alcohol and petrol, or the VAT on… well, almost everything.)

So – based on tax payments of €7,924, here’s where your money goes:

  • Health Service Executive: €1,582.86
  • Social Protection: €1,531.09
  • Education and Skills: €983.63
  • Servicing (including interest) of national debt: €931.34
  • Social Insurance Fund: €794.86
  • Promissory note repayments: €354.23
  • Transport, Tourism and Sport: €190.43
  • Contribution to general EU budget: €165.81
  • An Garda Síochána: €162.16
  • Agriculture, Food and the Marine: €142.89
  • Environment, Community and Local Government (including local councils): €138.54
  • Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: €93.33
  • European Agricultural Guidance & Guarantee Fund: €91.86
  • Defence: €78.77
  • Contributions to the ESM: €58.56
  • International Co-operation (including foreign aid): €57.18
  • Superannuation and Retired Allowances: €53.58
  • Children and Youth Affairs: €50.88
  • Communications, Energy and Natural Resources: €47.83
  • Office of the Revenue Commissioners: €45.85
  • Office of Public Works: €43.86
  • Justice and Equality: €43.19
  • National Training Fund: €41.57
  • Prisons Service: €38.32
  • State contribution to insurance compensation fund: €31.23
  • Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht: €28.98
  • Department of Health: €27.40
  • Foreign Affairs and Trade: €25.46
  • Army Pensions: €24.74
  • Funding for Houses of the Oireachtas Commission: €12.86
  • Courts Service: €12.09
  • Contingency funding yet to be allocated: €5.74
  • Salaries/pensions for Oireachtas, judges and office holders: €5.74
  • Central Statistics Office: €4.90
  • Public Expenditure and Reform: €4.77
  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions: €4.54
  • Miscellaneous current spending: €4.25
  • Office of the Minister for Finance: €4.02
  • Miscellaneous capital spending: €3.90
  • Property Registration Authority: €3.78
  • Chief State Solicitor’s Office: €3.66
  • Contribution to International Development Association: €3.33
  • Department of the Taoiseach: €2.41
  • Office of the Attorney General: €1.87
  • Shared Services: €1.52
  • Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General: €1.42
  • Valuation Office: €1.25
  • Repayments to EU development and cohesion funds: €1.15
  • State Laboratory: €1.02
  • National Gallery: €0.93
  • Office of the Ombudsman: €0.89
  • Public Appointments Service: €0.77
  • Payments to PSE Kinsale Energy Ltd (under Finance Act 1992): €0.57
  • Funding for political parties under Electoral Acts: €0.57
  • President’s Establishment: €0.36
  • Election Postal Charges: €0.34
  • Secret Service: €0.11
  • Office of the Appeal Commissioners: €0.06

The money above adds up to slightly more than €7,924 – and that’s because the government has set aside €220 million made in pay savings and not assigned it to any particular area. This accounts for the €25.26 extra.

In full: TheJournal.ie’s coverage of Budget 2013

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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