Ireland collected slightly less tax than expected in the year to the end of July, but it also spent less than planned and the government's finances were boosted by the sale of a 28% stake in Allied Irish Banks , data showed on Wednesday.
Tax collection was 0.8% below target in the year to the end of July, narrowing from a shortfall of 2.4% reported three months ago. Expenditure was 0.9% lower than planned, finance ministry figures showed.
Ireland's economy has been the top performer in the European Union for the past three years, swelling the country's tax take in the process. The finance ministry has forecast that tax revenues will grow by 5.2% in 2017.
Ireland aims to cut its deficit to 0.4% of gross domestic product this year from 0.7% last year as it moves towards its first balanced budget for a decade.
The government's surplus for the first seven months of the year swelled to 3.37 billion euros from 862 million at the same time last year, primarily due to the sale of 28% of the state's shareholding in Allied Irish Banks.
When the AIB share sale and other one-off transactions are excluded, the government surplus increased by 671 million euros from the same time last year due to increased tax revenues and reduced interest costs. (Reuters)