The Exchequer returns for the first three months of this year show that Government finances remain on target.

The State collected €8.82 billion in the first quarter, marginally ahead of its projection of €8.77 billion.

The figures show that taxes collected in the first three months are 0.5% higher than forecast. Spending is also within limits set by the Troika.

The data also shows the first €1.3m of property tax has been paid by homeowners who opted to pay early.

Income tax and VAT receipts for the first three months of 2013 were below targets, according to the figures.

According to the Department of Finance, €3.66 billion was taken in income tax between January and March of this year, which was only 0.3% behind target.

Meanwhile, almost €3.3 billion was generated through VAT, 2.1% lower than anticipated.

Both Income Tax and VAT were up compared to the same period of 2012, however.

The shortfall in Income Tax and VAT was balanced by a stronger-than-expected Corporation Tax take, which came about due to an unexpected payment of €140 million at the end of March.

A total of €394 million was taken in under this category between January and March, €147 million (59.7%) higher than the targeted amount.

Expenditure to the end of March was €689 million (5.9%) lower than in the same period of 2012, coming in above €10.9 billion.

Meanwhile, debt servicing costs were down €424 million (18.3%) year-on-year.

The Exchequer balance at the end of March was just below €3.7 billion, compared to €4.26 billion in the same period last year.