Exchequer returns for the year to the end of February show the Government’s tax take down by 1.3% - €77 million - compared with the same period last year.

The Department of Finance blamed the fall on one-off factors in categories such as Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax and PRSI.

As a result returns are heavy with adjustments, such as a reclassification of PRSI or a €251m late payment in Corporation Tax last year.

When these adjustments are taken into account income tax receipts - the key to the State’s finances – appear to be largely stable compared with the same period last year.

VAT, another big earner for the State, is slightly up on 2012.

According to the Department of Finance, Corporation Tax - after all the complex adjustments are made - is also up by 6.8%, while Excise Duties are up by 1.6%

Meanwhile, Government spending is down by 2.8% - or €206 million - compared to last year, including a 5% fall in spending by the Department of Social Protection.

The Exchequer deficit was €963 million, compared to over €2 billion this time last year. Much of this difference comes as a result of the sale of around €1 billion worth of contingent convertible capital notes in Bank of Ireland.

Separately, the Government’s tables of expected tax takes show that it is expecting to take around €40 million a month from the new Residential Property Tax in 2013, starting in July.

The Government is aiming at a total of €250 million from this source by the end of the year.