According to the Exchequer Returns for the half-year published this afternoon, just over €29.5 billion was collected in taxes in the six months to the end of June.

That was 5.2% – or €1.46 billion – ahead of what the Department of Finance had projected.

Just over €12.2 billion was accounted for by income tax, which was ahead of profile by €442 million or 3.8%.

However, the exchequer deficit stood at €5.3 billion at the end of June which was in line with the outcome at the end of the first half of last year.

Department officials said the deficit was primarily being driven by increases in spending as a result of Covid-19.

The 12-month rolling Exchequer deficit stood at €12.3 billion at the end of June.

June a key month for corporate tax receipts

More tax than expected was collected under almost all of the tax heads in the month of June.

€2.04 billion was taken in under the income tax heading in the month.

That was ahead of profile by €213 million, or 11.7%.

June is regarded as the second most important month for corporation tax and receipts of just over €2.8 billion were collected in the month.

That was ahead of target by €361 million, or almost 15%.

It was also around 15% ahead of the same month last year.

Cumulative receipts of corporation tax for the first six months – at €5.7 billion – were 8.5%, or €449 million, ahead of what had been expected.

However, they were down 2.6% – or €152 million – on the first six months of 2020, reflecting the impact of payments of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) to businesses which amounted to just shy of €400 million.

Spending below profile

Just over €39.9 billion was spent by government departments in the first six months which was €1.7 billion – or just over 4% – below expectations.

However, it was 4% higher than in the same period in 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic and associated restrictions struck midway through the first half of last year.

“On a rolling twelve month basis, gross voted expenditure amounts to €87 billion, with almost €32 billion in the Department of Social Protection, reflecting the significant measures in place to support businesses and people’s incomes through schemes as the PUP and EWSS,” Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath said.

The most recent projections are for a full year deficit of around €18 billion.

Those projections will be updated in the coming weeks in the Summer Economic Statement.

“Although we continue to borrow significant amounts of money in order to fight the pandemic, tax receipts to end-June show that we can look forward to the recovery with confidence,” Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe said.