September 4, 2017 / 3:59 PM / 21 days ago

Shortfall in Irish tax take narrows slightly in August

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland collected 0.7 percent less tax than expected at the end of August, the Finance Ministry said on Monday, a slight improvement on the previous month as the government seeks to eliminate the shortfall by year end.

Ireland has consistently beaten its revenue targets in recent years as the fast-growing economy boosted the state’s tax take but receipts had fallen as much as 2.4 percent behind target in April before beginning their correction.

By the end of August, income tax, excise and stamp duties all remained behind target while the outturn for corporate tax and VAT was better than expected.

Tax revenues were 4.9 percent or 1.4 billion euros up year-on-year and government spending, which came in 0.8 percent below target, increased by an almost identical amount compared with the same period last year.

The government recorded a surplus of 1.8 billion euros for the first eight months of the year versus a 329 million euro deficit a year ago, primarily due to the sale of 28 percent of the state’s shareholding in Allied Irish Banks (ALBK.I).

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 314 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 Padraic Halpin; Editing by Alison Williams

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