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Irish 2021 tax take 1.4% ahead of expectations at end-April

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DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland collected 1.4% more tax than expected during the first four months of the year, with the trend in income tax and excise duties in particular pointing to strong fundamentals in the economy, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

Ireland is only beginning to emerge from its third and longest lockdown in the last year but the economy has weathered the disruption far better this time around with firms and consumers adapting by using local delivery and online services.

That helped the treasury collect 0.4% more income tax than expected by the end of April while VAT receipts came in 1.5% ahead of forecast.

The two categories accounted for close to four out of every five euros collected in tax so far this year with very little corporate tax usually returned in the first four months.

Excise duties on products such as alcohol, tobacco and energy beat the department’s expectations by 2.7%.

On a 12-month rolling basis, Ireland’s exchequer recorded a deficit of 12.4 billion euros to the end of April, as gross spending ran 3.1% ahead of forecast with the cost of lockdown mounting. That was down from 14 billion euros a month earlier.

The finance ministry forecasts that the budget deficit will fall slightly to 4.7% of gross domestic product this year from 5% in 2020.

The government allowed all building sites to reopen this week with retail stores and personal services set to follow in mid-May and bars and restaurants allowed to serve guests outdoors for the first time this year from early June.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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