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Lower than forecast budget deficit of €21bn expected this year

The Government expects to run a budget deficit this year of just over €21bn or 6% of GDP. 

This figure is lower than forecast, largely due to stronger tax receipts running 15% ahead of expectations. 

The figures are contained in the White Paper, which lays out the public finances ahead of any decisions that may be taken in next week’s Budget. 

In April, the Government made a revised estimate of what it thought it would collect in tax this year – €49.6bn.

The Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure, published on Friday night, revised that figure upwards to €56.9bn.

That is an increase of €7.3bn or 15%. 

It means the estimated tax take this year will be just €2.5bn or 4% less than last year. 

Income tax is estimated to be ahead by €3.3bn, which is €1.4bn or 6% behind last year’s take. 

Corporation tax is €1.6bn ahead of last year and €2bn ahead of expectations. 

A deficit of just over €14bn has been pencilled in for next year, but that is before any further spending decisions are made in the Budget. 

On the spending side, the cost of repaying Ireland’s national debt is expected to come down, but the cost of its contribution to the European Union will go up. 

There is no allocation for the Rainy Day Fund.  

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