Exchequer returns for August show that tax revenues for the first eight months of the year are €365 million of 1.7% ahead of target.

€22.07 billion was collected by the Government to the end of August, up from €20.50 collected by this point in 2011.

The exchequer deficit at the end of August was €11.3 billion, while debt funding costs were €4.8 billion.

Income tax is €102 million or 1.1% ahead of target cumulatively, but is below target for August. It is the second month in a row it has come in under the monthly target figure.

There was also a significant shortfall in excise duty, which is €116 million or 3.8% lower than target for the year-to-date. It is also 1.5% lower year on year.

VAT was 1.2% ahead of cumulative target, and is up 3.1% year-on-year.

Corporation tax is also ahead of profile for the year, but the big payment period for this tax is October/November.

Government spending is 1.1% ahead of target, with the budgets for the Departments of Health and Social Protection recording overruns.