Exchequer returns show tax take €548m higher than expected this year so far

The Exchequer deficit stands at €5.18 billion at the end of July, an improvement of nearly €800 million on the figure projected in the budget.

Overall, the tax take is 2.5pc or €548m higher than expected so far this year.

This will further boost hopes of a softer budget in October.

Income tax totalled €9.25bn to the end of July – up 7.6pc on the same period last year.

VAT receipts totalled €7.1bn – up 7.2pc on the same period in 2013.

Excise duties at €2.8bn are 5pc ahead of target for the first seven months of the year, but were 4.4pc below the monthly target.

Public spending is lower than expected but expenditure in Health is €273m over budget. This is offset by underspends in most other departments, including the Department of Social Protection.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said if the Exchequer trend continues, October’s Budget’s adjustment will be “somewhat less” than the originally planned €2bn adjustment.

“The Exchequer returns for the first seven months of 2014 show a strong performance in terms of both tax and expenditure.  Cumulative tax receipts are up €1.3bn compared to the same period in 2013,” Mr Noonan said. Source: Irish Independent.