DUBLIN, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Ireland collected 0.6 percent less tax than expected at the end of September, the finance ministry said on Tuesday, closing the gap a little bit more as the government seeks to eliminate the shortfall by year end.
Ireland has consistently beaten its revenue targets in recent years as fast economic growth boosted the state’s tax take, but receipts had fallen as much as 2.4 percent behind target in April before beginning their correction.
That gap closed to 0.8 percent in July and 0.7 percent in August and narrowed again in September, one of the busiest tax months of the year.
Income tax and excise duties remained below target at the end of September, while VAT also slipped below forecast but corporate tax receipts, which have soared in recent years, came in 3.8 percent ahead of expectation.
Overall, tax revenues were 5.4 percent or 1.8 billion euros up year-on-year. Government spending, which came in 0.8 percent below target, rose by a similar amount
The government recorded a surplus of 2.4 billion euros for the first nine months of the year versus a 25 million 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 535 million euros.
Ireland aims to cut its budget deficit to 0.4 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 Catherine Evans)