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Irish 2016 tax take 1.4% above target

Irish 2016 tax take 1.4% above target

DUBLIN: Ireland collected 1.4 percent more tax than expected in 2016, the finance ministry said on Wednesday, below a revised target aiming for receipts to come in 2 percent ahead of expectations.

Ireland had begun to close in on the revised target in November but collected 151 million euros or 4.5 percent less tax than forecast in December, driven by a rare monthly underperformance in corporation receipts.

The finance ministry had warned that strong receipts would likely be needed in the last two months of the year to allow the government to cut its budget deficit for 2016 below one percent of gross domestic product, as planned.

However after strong third quarter GDP data last month, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the deficit may fall as low as 0.7 percent. Tax revenues were up 5 percent year-on-year in 2016, with receipts up solidly across income tax, VAT, corporate tax and excise duties, reflecting the strong economic recovery.

Expenditure was 0.3 percent less than planned, leaving the exchequer with a 1 billion euro deficit compared to one of 64 million in 2015 that was lowered by one-off banking related receipts.