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News : Irish Last Updated: Apr 24, 2009 - 5:31:05 PM


Irish Exchequer Returns for September show deficit of €9.4 billion compared with €3.1 billion in September 2007
By Finfacts Team
Oct 2, 2008 - 4:52:16 PM

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Department of Finance
Irish Exchequer Returns for the end of September shows an Exchequer deficit of €9.4 billion compared with €3.1 billion in September 2007.

Tax revenue was €3.6 billion or 11.2 per cent behind target while total spending was €217 million or 0.6 per cent below target. Detail

Commenting on the end-quarter Exchequer results the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, T.D. said: “The sharp deterioration in economic growth that we have seen reflects the more challenging international conditions as well as the substantial correction in the property market that we are experiencing. This obviously is affecting tax revenues and over the summer months the weakness in receipts has continued at a pace. In particular, the performance of VAT, CGT and Stamp Duty receipts is disappointing and reflects developments in the property market as well as weaker economic activity. As a result of these trends a shortfall of the order of €6½ billion on tax revenue is currently estimated.

In terms of Government spending, the position at end-September shows that overall expenditure is running at 10.1 per cent ahead of the same period for last year. There are a number of spending pressures, mainly in Social Welfare. As a result, an overrun of the order of €600 million on net expenditure is now likely.

The Government is continuing to take action to deal with the challenging economic situation. Difficult decisions will be required to stabilise the public finances. In that context, Budget 2009 will be framed to provide the stability required and to help to ensure that our economy will be well placed to take advantage of more favourable international conditions in the future. Given our low debt ratio, our educated and young workforce and our low tax environment for workers and business, we are better placed than before to deal with the current challenges. Taking decisive action now is necessary to help ensure fiscal sustainability over the medium-term”

Revenue

Total current receipts at end-September amounted to €29.08 billion compared to receipts of €31.90 billion for the same period in 2007.

Tax Revenue, at €28.5 bllion is €3.6 billion, or 11.2 per cent, behind target at end-September due mainly to the poor performance of VAT, Stamps and Capital Gains Tax.

Non-tax revenue in the nine months to end-September was €603 million. This compares to €436 million for the same period last year.

Capital receipts to end-September amounted to €1.35 billion compared with €909 million for the same period last year.

Expenditure

Total spending at €35.2 billion at end-September was €217 million or 0.6 per cent below target. Year-on-year growth in the first nine months of 2008 was 10.1 per cent. The Revised Estimates provide for an increase of 10 per cent for 2008 as a whole.

Net current spending at end-September at €30.14 billion was €8 million below target . Year-on-year growth in the first nine months of 2008 was 9 per cent. The Revised Estimates provided for an increase of 9 per cent for 2008 as a whole.

Net capital spending at end-September at €5.04 billion, was €210 million or 4 per cent below target. Year-on-year growth in the first nine months of 2008 was 16.8 per cent.

Non-voted capital expenditure at end-September was €1.3 billion.

Expenditure on Central Fund Services totalled €3.4 billion at end-September compared with €2.7 billion in the same period last year.

Pat McArdle, Chief Economist Ulster Bank commented that the Exchequer returns confirm big summer slowdown:

The cumulative tax shortfall in the six months to June was €1.5 billion which prompted the Government to predict a full-year undershoot of €3 billion and to announce corrective measures to curb spending by €440 million this year and €1 billion in 2009. However, by end-September, the undershoot had risen to €3.4 billion, a deterioration of almost €2 billion in just three months.

This caused the Government, in turn, to revise up its estimate of the full-year shortfall to €6.5 billion. This is slightly surprising as it is below the €7 billion figure that has been bandied about in recent weeks. After today’s figures we estimate a shortfall of €7.25 billion.

For the fourth month in a row, all taxes came in below expectations underlining the widespread nature of the problem. The Sep shortfall was €834 million, the biggest monthly shortfall to date, after July which was €776 million.

VAT catches the eye. VAT is paid every second month and Sep was a VAT month. It undershot by €355 million, representing 43% of the total Sep shortfall. We do not get a breakdown of VAT but it has been in the red all year as the housing slowdown sapped receipts. This was added to by motor sales which are down by almost 20%. The new item and the reason for the deterioration over the summer is the consumer strike. Retail and wholesale VAT revenue is now clearly suffering with little sign of abatement anytime soon.

After VAT came stamp duties which also recorded a record monthly shortfall. Receipts were less than €100 million as compared with a forecast of €270 million. Clearly the volume of transactions in property and shares is very low and what sales there are, are not generating much taxable profit as capital gains tax also disappointed.

Income tax (IT) has edged down recently and is becoming a more serious underperformer. This probably reflects low receipts from the self employed but PAYE may also be a factor given recent unemployment trends. It was down €111 million in Sep and €267 million in the year to-date.

Corporation tax (CT) was a surprise. It is hard to analyse as we never get details but it had a poor Sep (-€119 million) with the result that year-to-date CT is down €308 million.

Finally, excise, too, was weak, down €48 million in the month and €306 million in the year to-date. Most of this is probably vehicles but, by now, weaker sales of the old reliables, beer, spirits and tobacco, are probably also a factor.

There was more bad news on the spending side. The €440 million “Savings” announced in early July were supposed to cause spending to come in on target. Now the Minister has estimated a €600 million shortfall. This reflects excesses in health and social welfare. It never rains but it pours.

The net effect is to push this year’s deficit above 5% and make the task in the upcoming Budget even more difficult. 
 

EUR mn

Jan-Sep

 Est

Jan-Sep Actual

S/fall

Jan-Sep Est %

Jan-Sep Actual %

Customs

225

        194

-30

14.4%

-1.0%

Excise

4,457

     4,151

-306

2.8%

-4.3%

CGT

1,160

        694

-466

-2.9%

-41.9%

CAT

303

        239

-64

6.9%

-15.6%

Stamps

2,010

     1,358

-652

-19.8%

-45.8%

Income Tax

8,958

     8,691

-267

1.5%

-1.5%

Corp Tax

2,430

     2,122

-308

4.6%

-8.7%

VAT

12,531

   10,998

-1,532

6.5%

-6.6%

Total

32,074

28,478

-3,595

1.9%

-9.5%

           
EUR mn

Sep Est

Sep Actual

S/fall

Sep Est %

Sep Actual %

Customs

25

          21

-4

23.5%

2.0%

Excise

527

        479

-48

8.9%

-0.9%

CGT

45

          15

-30

-12.2%

-70.2%

CAT

32

          26

-6

7.6%

-12.2%

Stamps

270

          98

-172

27.9%

-53.8%

Income Tax

949

        838

-111

7.0%

-5.5%

Corp Tax

520

        401

-119

12.9%

-12.9%

VAT

2,170

     1,815

-355

8.5%

-9.3%

Total

4,538

3,705

-834

10.2%

-10.0%

Rossa White, economist at Davy Research said that a tax shortfall of €7.5bn is likely for full year; capital spending falling behind:

Tax revenue now €3.6bn behind target; key Q4 to come

  • Tax revenue slipped much further behind schedule in September. The total shortfall for the year so far is €3.6bn compared with the government's initial target.

  • Direct property-related tax revenue accounts for about 75% of the total shortfall. VAT slipped €1.53bn behind expectations thanks to the lack of new home sales.

Government has predicted €7bn miss; likely to be €7.5bn

  • The government has made a realistic tax revenue projection for the full year ahead of the Budget in less than two weeks time. It expects tax revenue to end up €7bn lower than the original projection. We think it will be marginally worse, at €7.5bn.

  • Much will depend on November, which is the salient month for self-assessment returns, corporation tax and capital gains tax. It will have to plan without prior knowledge, hence the realistic estimate.

Capital spending running behind forecast: we hope this is not a forewarning of things to come

  • The hole in the public finances is deep. Facing into the Budget, we think the 2008 general government deficit will exceed 5% of GDP before any late-year cutbacks. Worryingly, capital spending fell 4% behind target in the nine months to September. We hope that isn't the beginning of a trend.

  • The government must take the brave decision to keep the infrastructure budget largely intact and tackle inefficiency and waste in the public sector instead.

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