Tax revenues beating expectations by €774m

New cars, tobacco excise and corporation tax has made the difference in 2016...

The Department of Finance has published the Exchequer returns for the first five months of the year and tax revenues are extremely healthy.

The State has taken in €774 million more than anticipated in taxes to the end of last month.

An increase in new car sales, excise on tobacco products and a continuing surge in corporation tax are being attributed for the increase.

The improvement in the public finances in a year has been placed in the region of €1.4bn.

While the returns published today show a €125m shortfall compared to a surplus of €641 million at the end of May last year, this is due to one-off receipts in 2015.

The Department of Finance said the overall positive performance chimed with the recovering labour market, as May's 7.8% unemployment rate was the lowest such figure since the economic crash.

On spending, 15 of the 16 government departments are on or under budget, though the Department of Health has overspent by €113m in the first five months of the year.