Saturday 17 March 2018

VAT returns up 2.6pc as retail sector rebounds

Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

THE tax-take for the first two months of the year was €5.8bn which was almost exactly the same as last year, new figures show.

However, this was down €77m compared to the previous year, due mainly to once-off factors, according to the latest Exchequer returns.

Stripping out technical issues, the State collected the same amount of income tax so far this year as it did last year as well as other taxes such as VAT and stamp duty.

VAT recorded a 2.6pc increase to €49m, adding to signs that the retail sector may be improving.

Corporation tax fell 61pc in the first two months of the year but it was almost flat when exceptional items are excluded.

Stamp duties from the sale of everything from houses to shares has increased 206pc in the first two months of the year although the Department of Finance said most of this apparent rise came from health levies and was technical in nature.

Spending on social welfare fell 5pc as the number of people claiming the dole declined. Spending on education also slipped 5pc as pension payments were trimmed.

Health spending rose 1.2pc over the same period.

The troika has repeatedly complained about the Government's inability to rein in spending on health.

The cost of servicing the national debt remained steady but Exchequer borrowing increased by €25.8bn during February.

This was almost exclusively due to €25bn of bonds issued to the Central Bank to replace the promissory note. While impacting Exchequer debt substantially, this has no impact on General Government Debt, the Department said.

Irish Independent

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