Saturday 16 December 2017

Exchequer boosted by Christmas shopping

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

The level of tax collected in January was up €272m on the same month last year, boosted by strong VAT receipts in the wake of Christmas.

Tax revenue last month totalled €4.77bn - up 6.1pc on January 2015.

January is the most significant month of the year for VAT, as collection in the month relates to the busy Christmas shopping season.

More than €2.3bn in VAT was collected - €214m, or more than 10pc, up year-on-year.

Income tax receipts for the month came in at €1.6bn, fractionally down on the same period last year by €8m.

Experts hailed the figures as a solid start to the year that showed a positive Christmas trading period.

"Despite concerns that Christmas spending was less buoyant than expected, VAT receipts surged over the Christmas period, indicating strong consumer spending," said Peter Vale, tax partner at Grant Thornton.

"Consumers appeared to set aside Brexit and other concerns, resulting in VAT receipts that were over 10pc higher than the same period last year."

An Exchequer surplus of €1.47bn was recorded in January, compared to a surplus of €1.2bn last year. The €272m improvement was due primarily to increased tax collection, the Department of Finance said.

Spending at the end of January totalled €3.8bn, up 4.8pc or €173m in year-on-year terms.

The department said this was primarily due to the timing of a €100m payment from the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government to the Local Government Fund.

Irish Independent

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