This evening the Department of Finance will publish the Exchequer Returns for the whole of 2013. The Exchequer posted a deficit of €8,576m in January-November compared with an overall budget deficit of €12,968m in the first eleven months of 2012. <p>

Tax revenues in January-November totalled €35,181m, an increase of €1,407m or 4.2% on the same period in 2012. In Budget 2013 the Department of Finance pencilled in an overall rise in tax receipts for the year of just below 5.0%, mainly reflecting the introduction of the property tax from the second half of 2013. Overall, tax receipts were €214m ahead of official expectations at end-November. At the end of October they were €37m ahead of profile while at the close of the third quarter they were €4m above target. <p>

In the recent White Paper on Receipts & Expenditure, the Department forecast that tax revenue for 2013 as a whole would come in at €37,825m, that is €125m lower than originally projected, mainly due to a shortfall in VAT and DIRT receipts. November is the most important single month as regards tax receipts, and the out-turn was clearly better than anticipated a few weeks ago. <p>

In the Budget 2014 publication on October 15, the Department was forecasting an overall Exchequer deficit for 2013 of €11,300m and a General Government Deficit of 7.3% of GDP. <b>However, it now looks as though the budget deficit will be closer to 7.0% of GDP, again repeating the recent trend of Ireland under-promising and over-delivering. An overall budget deficit of €10,800m is now projected for 2013, down from €14,891m in 2012 and €500m lower than was expected on October 15.
<p><h5>Alan McQuaid</h5>


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