Irish tax haul jumps, signals kinder 2015 budget after years of austerity


DUBLIN, Ireland–Ireland’s tax collections are beating targets and have put the country on course to achieve normal deficit levels after six years of austerity, the government announced Tuesday.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the unexpectedly healthy figures — deficit spending so far this year of 6.3 billion euros (US$8.25 billion), 1.3 billion euros (US$1.7 billion) less than original forecasts — meant that the next round of spending cuts and tax hikes in his 2015 budget “will be significantly less than forecast.”

The Department of Finance said reasons for Ireland’s rising income and declining deficit included a steady fall in unemployment to a five-year low of 11.5 percent; growing income tax collections and declining welfare payouts; strong sales tax collections as consumer confidence recovers; and the government’s own accelerated repayment and preferential refinancing of its debts.