Exchequer returns were ahead of target in May, according to the Department of Finance, with more than €4.42 billion taken in by the State during the month.

This was compared to a target of €4.2bn, putting the month’s tax take €216m (5.1%) ahead of profile. The figure was €385m (9.5%) higher than the amount taken in during the same month of 2014.

During May VAT receipts were well above expectations, with €1.68bn received - €133m (8.6%) ahead of target.

Corporation tax was also ahead of profile, with €899m received compared to the expected €758m.

Income tax receipts were also marginally above expectations at €1.29bn, while €20m was received in local property taxes compared to an anticipated €16m.

Excise duties were behind profile during the month, however, falling €61m (13.2%) short at €400m. Stamp duties were €16m (16.8%) lower than expected at €79m.

In the year to date the State has received more than €17.28bn in taxes and duties - €734m (4.4%) more than had been budgeted at the start of the year and almost €1.7bn (10.9%) more than received in the same five months of 2014.

Tax receipts in all the main categories were ahead of target for the first five months of the year, with corporation tax €485m (46.5%) ahead of profile at €1.53bn and VAT receipts €90m (1.6%) ahead of profile at €5.71bn.

Local property tax receipts are €10m (3.4%) below profile at €283m, however, while excise duties were down €20m (1%) at €2.02bn.

On the expenditure side, net voted expenditure for the year to May was €306m (1.8%) below target at €17.03bn.

Non-voted capital expenditure was down €552m (1.57bn) year-on-year, while the country’s debt servicing costs were €111m (3.2%) lower at €3.356bn.