Exchequer ahead of target in March as income tax, VAT improves

Exchequer ahead of target in March as income tax, VAT improves

Exchequer returns for March have come in ahead of forecast; as income tax, VAT and Corporation Tax take were all higher than expected.

Almost €4.69 billion was taken in by the State during the month, €207m (4.6%) above target and €550 (13.3%) higher than in March 2018.

It brings tax take in the first three months of the year to almost €12.8 billion – €157m (1.2%) ahead of target and €843m (7.1%) higher than the same period of last year.

During March over €2 billion was received in VAT – €104m more than anticipated. This went a long way towards undoing the shortfall in expected VAT take during January and February.

Income Tax was €8m ahead of target in March at €1.5 billion. It remains €171m behind target in the year to date, but is €305m higher than in the first three months of 2018.

Meanwhile Corporation Tax was once again well ahead of expectations with €354m received in March; €72m (25.7%) more than forecast.

That brings Corporation Tax take to €524m in the first quarter; more than twice what was anticipated for the period after Budget 2019. The Department of Finance said this was largely a timing issue, with the figure likely to move closer to expectations later in the year.

On the spending side, the Government’s net voted expenditure stood just below €12 billion in the first three months of the year – €809m (7.2%) higher year-on-year but €321m (2.6%) lower than forecast after Budget 2019.

Meanwhile non-voted expenditure rose €188m (6.4%) year-on-year to €3.14 billion, largely due to an increase in the country’s European Union contribution.

That left the Exchequer with a deficit of €966m for the first three months of the year – compared to €1.11 billion in the same period of 2018.

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