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Taxman's take 'higher than expected' a week ahead of Budget 2017

Published 04/10/2016

Hundreds of people queue for jobs at a supermarket in Dublin.
Hundreds of people queue for jobs at a supermarket in Dublin.

The taxman took in 484 million euro more tax than expected this year.

Despite the promising collection, a report on the state's coffers just a week out from Budget 2017 raised concerns about the amount of tax that is being paid directly out of workers' pay packets - 114 million euro below profile.

The Department of Finance said a total of 33.4 billion euro in taxes was taken in over the first nine months of the year, up 5.7% on the same period last year.

Some 12.95 billion euro of that was income tax, including the Universal Social Charge which is up 509 million euro on the same period last year, but almost 1% below were it had been expected to be.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan hinted said the main taxes are performing as expected.

"These improved Exchequer results together with today's revised unemployment figure of 7.9% shows how Ireland is growing in resilience," he said.

"We should guard this improvement and be prepared for external shocks so that we can all continue to enjoy the benefits of our recent hard work."

The Exchequer figures, including the weak trend in income tax, were released as the latest report on the jobs market showed u nemployment has fallen below 8%.

According to the Central Statistics Office's (CSO) latest monthly review of the jobs market, 172,900 people were out of work last month - a drop of about 24,000 over the course of the last year.

The CSO reported that almost 16% of 15-to-24-year-olds are out of work, a fall of 1% since August with the figure now made up of 19,300 young men and 13,100 young women.

It also coincided with revised economic growth figures for this year of 4.2%, down from 4.9%, mainly due to the risk from Brexit and uncertainty worldwide.

Budget 2017, to be announced next Tuesday, is expected to be a package worth about one billion euro with about 300 miliion euro going on tax cuts and 600-700 million euro in new spending.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe said: " Prudent management of our finances and a sensible approach to spending are key to ensuring that we can deliver a fair society supported by a strong economy. Next week's budget will build on that."

Elsewhere, the Exchequer report showed c orporation tax rose to 4.159 billion euro this. The figure is 644 million euro higher than expected for the year.

VAT was below the target for the nine months of the year by 278 million euro and e xcise duties were 211 million euro ahead of target.

Meanwhile, o n the employment figures, Ian Talbot, chief executive of Chambers Ireland, urged the Government to capitalise on the falling numbers out of work and to focus on options for young people.

"In spite of terrific progress in increasing the overall employment rates over the past few years, the youth unemployment rate has remained stubbornly high," he said.

The business lobbyist called for apprenticeships and further education and training programmes to be expanded.

"Investing in increased opportunities for our young people is not only important for economic reasons, it is essential for future social cohesion of Ireland. We must ensure that all our citizens have the opportunity to pursue a rewarding career," Mr Talbot said.

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