Public finances show surplus of €200m in March

The public finances recorded a surplus at the end of March of €200m, according to the latest Exchequer figures published by the Department of Finance.

This compares to a deficit of €4.2 billion recorded at the end of March 2021, which means an improvement of €4.3 billion.

This is based on continuing strong levels of income tax, VAT and corporation tax.

Today’s figures show that on a 12-month rolling basis, there was a deficit of €3 billion.

On a cumulative basis, for the first three months of this year, income tax was up almost €1 billion or 16% to €6.8 billion. This is also 37% higher than the same period of 2019.

VAT returns were up €1.4 billion or just over 30% to €5.9 billion compared to the same period in 2021. This is 17% higher than the same period in 2019.

Due to what the department describes as a “timing issue” with returns usually expected in August being made in March, corporation tax is up €1.3 billion or 224% to €1.9 billion.

The surge in corporation tax is also explained as “increased profitability of a small number of companies in the ICT sector”.

Tax revenue in total came in at €17.2 billion, some €4.2 billion higher or 32% ahead of the same period last year.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe told a press conference today that the Exchequer figures published today are “backward looking” and that the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine are being felt “across the world and here in Ireland”.

Mr Donohoe said he still expected the public finances to remain in deficit this year, despite the small Exchequer surplus reported last month.

He said the public finances entered this “test” with a strong recovery taking place and that while he can not “insulate” the economy from the impact of the war in Ukraine, both he and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, were “committed to considering all possible further measures” to tackle the fallout for the economy.

When asked about reports of further EU sanctions against Russia, which could target Oleg Deripaska and exports of alumina from the Aughinish plant in Co Limerick, the Minister for Finance said “it would be counter-productive to comment or speculate about what could be in sanctions in coming days.”

He said it was a matter of public knowledge that he had met management at the plant “on a number of occasions”, adding that he was aware of “the exceptional importance of Aughinish”.

Article Source – Public finances show surplus of €200m in March – RTE – Robert Shortt

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