THE Exchequer deficit last year was €10.8bn lower than 2011, according to end of year figures released by the Department of Finance.
Tax revenue was up €2.6bn on the year before to €36bn, while non-tax revenue was €45m higher.
The amount raised in taxes last month was better than expected.
The strong increase in the amount of tax paid in December - which mainly came from two multinational companies and some late payments by self employed people - left the government €270m ahead of target for the year, instead of €210m behind, as feared
That tax gain, a better than expected result from selling off the old analog TV signal to mobile phone companies, and some spending control means a significant improvement in the budget deficit.
The expenditure for 2012 was in line with target with overspends in health and social protection offset by underspending in other areas.
In a statement, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said the figures show the “continued improvement we are making”.