The Government has published potential measures for the continued phasing out of the Universal Social Charge between now and 2020.

In a new departure for the Government, it today published the tax and revenue options different departments have prepared for the Finance Minister as the process of formulating Budget 2017 continues.

It includes detail on a desire to broaden the tax base further, while continuing to phase out USC – which is expected to raise €4 billion this year.

It publishes three options for phasing out USC over the next three budgets; reducing rates, increasing band ceilings, and increasing the exemption threshold.

The cost of these measures would be between €1.78 billion and €1.86 billion between now and 2020.

However, the report points out that these measures would be dependent on the broadening of the tax base in other areas.

In addition, the report also details proposals for retaining mortgage interest relief beyond 2017 and possible measures for a new tax on sugar sweetened drinks.

It suggests that, based on rate, tax revenue from sugar sweetened drinks could raise more than €200m annually.

Never before have these options, contained in various strategy papers been released in advance of the budget.

They come complete with costings and revenue forecasts and provide what a Department of Finance source said was a "helicopter view” of what the Government could do in areas ranging from corporate tax to sugar, sweets and drinks, to excise duties and the Universal Social Charge.

The revenue options published by the Government today also cover provisions for a “supportive tax regime” for entrepreneurs and the self-employed.

The report also seeks to address support options for stay-at-home parents through an increase in the Home Carer Credit.

Prior to the new Government term, the information published this afternoon would not have been released until after the Finance Minister had announced the Budget.