An Saoi: The January tax figures have given the Government a bit of good news, but the question is how much?
The Table below gives the figures for January from 2010 to 2012 and superficially the figures look like a big improvement and certainly some particular tax heads look particularly good.
The Income Tax is well ahead over previous years mainly because the payments relate to 2011 and are influenced by the Brian Lenihan changes and weekly paid staff had an additional payday in December, a Week 53, which added to the tax yield. The income tax figures for the last four months of 2011 were well behind target and perhaps there is a degree of balancing payments being submitted with forms P35. The weakness of Income Tax in 2011 may have been overstated and was perhaps a cashflow issue for employers.
The Corporation Tax figure must be a serious worry to the Government. It includes €261M which they told us really belonged in December 2011 but arrived late. This suggests that the net figure for January was just €10M. It will be May before enough is known to hazard a guess at the final outcome.
Value Added Tax is up €51M on the same period and reflects the better weather in November and December 2011 over the previous year and perhaps a degree of shopping ahead of the increase in the standard rate of VAT which took effect from 1st January. The Retail Sales Figures released by the CSO suggest that the motor trade performed strongly in December. The slight increase in Excise Figures confirms this also.
The other taxes, even together, do not amount to very much and are not really worth a comment for a few more months. It will be March before we can see a definite trend, but on these figures, the Government has a chance of reaching its targets.