STRONG tax receipts in September have boosted hopes for an easier budget later this month.
The Government has yet to finalise an adjustment figure for this year but the latest tax returns mean a smaller adjustment than the €3.1bn originally flagged is a possibility.
The tax figures give the Government a little wriggle room although even if the adjustment is less than €3.1bn it will still be a tough budget.
According to the latest Exchequer Returns, the tax take for the year end September was €26.9bn, up 2.9pc on the same period last year.
The top tax heads including income and corporation performed strongly in September while VAT returns, which have been traditionally weaker over the past few months, were also robust boosted by car sales and the good weather but are marginally off target for the year-to-date.
An Exchequer deficit of €7.1bn was recorded at end September - this represents an improvement of almost €4bn compared with the first nine months of 2012 - for the month there was a surplus of €192m.
Earlier today there was other positive economic news in the Live Register figures.
They showed further stabilising in the labour market with just over 20,000 less people signing on in September compared with last year.
The unemployment rate is now at 13.3pc, down over 4pc compared with last year.
Until this year, the budget was delivered in December when the Government had the full year Exchequer Returns to hand when preparing the budget.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan will present the budget on October 15.
By Ailish O'Hora