THE government has beaten its deficit target this year, the latest Exchequer returns show.
The data also shows that the state’s finances are broadly on track, with the tax take down 0.4pc on target.
VAT is 2.1pc behind target, although the crucial Christmas trading period will be included in next month’s exchequer returns.
The government had a target to reduce the budget deficit – the gap between how much the state spends and takes in through taxes and revenue – to 7.5pc of the value of the economy in 2013.
The Department of Finance has confirmed that the deficit is below that, but it has not given a figure.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the data highlights the progress made in stabilising the economy.
“Ireland exited the bailout and for the third consecutive year, we have overachieved against our deficit target,” Mr Noonan said.
“Nevertheless, it remains the case that we still have a sizeable deficit in our public finances that we must continue to be vigilant and disciplined in our management of the public finances.
“However, looking to the future, it is important that we look beyond consolidation and continue to put in place the conditions that will allow the economy to grow sustainably and facilitate further job growth, the number one priority of Government”
Key figures include:
:: Tax revenues at €37.8bn are up 3.2pc year-on-year, but down 0.4pc on target.
:: Income tax receipts remain broadly on target. Year on-year income tax recorded an increase of 3.8pc.
:: Corporation tax for the year is €135m ahead of target.
:: VAT receipts are €224m behind target for the year but up €165m year-on-year.
:: €30m was received in local property tax in December, bringing the total collected last year to €318m.
:: Spending at €43bn was 0.7pc below target.
Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin said the figures reflected the Government's commitment to on-going strong expenditure control.
“These figures demonstrate that expenditure is continuing to be managed effectively in line with the Government's fiscal objectives and bailout exit strategy,” he said.