SHOPPERS stocked up on alcohol and cigarettes last month fearing price hikes in the Budget, the latest Exchequer returns suggest.
Excise surged 27.9pc higher than targeted in October when normally the tax has been bringing in less money than expected each month.
And the fears of consumers were confirmed as Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced a 10 cent increase on a pack of 20 cigarettes in his Budget speech, a 10 cent increase on a pint of beer and a 50 cent hike on a bottle of wine.
The surge in excise helped drive a 1.4pc better-than-expected tax take last month with the state’s finances broadly on target for the year to date.
In the year to the end of October, €29.2bn was taken in through taxes - €37m ahead of target.
The figures continue to paint a mixed picture of the economy, with income tax, VAT and excise all down on the year to date. But there is increased house buying and stocks being traded on the Irish Stock Exchange. Corporation tax was also up.
Some €215m has been collected from the controversial property tax so far this year, almost a third higher than expected at this point.
About €35.3bn has been spent by government departments in the year to date, compared to a budgeted €36.15bn.
The Departments of Health and Justice were the only two departments to have spent more than targeted, by 0.4pc and 0.9pc respectively.
About €33.4bn went on current spending and €1.8bn went on capital.
Key figures from the year so far show:
:: Total tax take €29.2bn – up €37m on target.
:: €12.1bn was taken in through income tax – 1pc lower than hoped.
:: €8.6bn brought in from VAT – 2.1pc lower.
:: Corporation tax was €2.8bn – up 9.3pc on projections
:: Excise was at €3.9bn – down 1.3pc
:: Stamps brought in €1.2bn – up 13.1pc