Ireland eliminates tax take shortfall in October

DUBLIN, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Ireland’s tax take returned to target at the end of October after better than expected income tax, corporation tax and excise duty eliminated an earlier deficit, the finance ministry said on Thursday.

Ireland has consistently beaten its revenue targets in recent years as fast economic growth boosted the tax take, but receipts had fallen as much as 2.4 percent behind target in April before the gap began gradually to narrow.

Income tax, corporation tax and excise duty all came in ahead of target in October - the latter due to a significant stocking-up of tobacco products before the introduction of plain packaging rules - while VAT slipped below forecast.

Overall, tax revenues were up 6.2 percent or 2.3 billion euros year-on-year to the end of October. Government spending, which came in 1 percent below target in the first 10 months, rose by 1.8 billion compared to year ago.

The government recorded an overall surplus of 326 million euros for the first 10 months of the year versus a 2.4 billion euro deficit a year ago, primarily due to June’s 3.4 billion euro sale of a stake in state-owned Allied Irish Banks.

Excluding the AIB share sale and other one-off transactions, the Finance Ministry said the underlying exchequer position showed a year-on-year improvement of 921 million euros.

Ireland aims to cut its budget deficit to 0.3 percent of gross domestic product this year from 0.7 percent in 2016 as it moves towards its first balanced budget for a decade. (Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)