The amount of tax collected by the Government is €507 million or 3.1% ahead of expectation in the first half of the year.

The Government collected €17.014 billion, an increase of 8.3% on the same period in 2011.

Income tax is €215m or 3.1% ahead of target in the first six months of the year.

Corporation tax paid in the month of June, traditionally the second biggest month of the year for companies to pay, was €108m better than expected.

The exchequer deficit at the end of June stands at €9.443bn.

The cost of servicing the national debt to the end of June was €4.511bn. That is €118m, or 2.5%, less then the target figure published in early February.

The cost of servicing the national debt, however, is some €2bn higher when compared with the same period last year.

The Department of Finance says that there are two specific technical reasons for this increase.

When the figures are compared on a like-for-like basis, the department says that debt servicing costs are approximately €800m higher than last year.

Exchequer returns also show a payment of €450m to the insurance compensation fund.

The money was paid following the Quinn Insurance debacle which saw significant payments from the fund to increase Quinn Insurance's reserves.

The company has since been taken over by US group Liberty.

Alan McQuaid of Merrion Stockbrokers says that the corporation tax figure is positive as is the overall tax take.

He said if this pattern is continued to the end of the year there is no reason why the budget deficit would be closer to 8% than the 8.6% forecast.

Mr McQuaid said prospects look a lot better now than at the start of June.