There was a pickup in Government tax receipts in May, according to the latest exchequer returns.

May exchequer figures show the Government took in €76m - or 1.5% more than expected.

A lower than expected amount of tax had been collected over the past couple of months, and by the end of April revenues were 2.4% lower than expected.

The increase in tax revenues in May - the second biggest payment month for tax in the year, meant the gap was closed to 1.4%, some €268m lower than expectations.

In May the State took in tax revenue of €5,282m. In the year to date it has collected €19,385m.

Income tax of €1.44bn was collected in May, about €4m or 0.3% lower than forecast. Compared with the same month last year, income tax receipts are up 8.4%.

Corporation Tax was 3.7% above expectations for the month, but in the year to date are €185 million below target, and flat in year on year terms.  May is an important month for Corporation Tax payments.

It is also a month when VAT is due for the March/April trading period.  VAT receipts have grown strongly in the year to date, and are now running almost 4%  - or €254m - ahead of target, and are up 13% on the same period last year.  In May VAT receipts totaled €2,059m , €3m less than expected .

Excise duties were also ahead of profile in May, but are down just over 4% compared with expectations for the first five months of the year.

In the smaller capital tax categories, property tax and capital gains tax are ahead of target, stamp duty and Capital Acquisitions Tax are below target for the year to date, as are customs receipts.

Total voted expenditure is 1.5% below target, but is 5.3% higher than this time last year. However, the Department of Housing was 26% ahead of its spending target. 

An exchequer surplus of €383 million was recorded a the end of May, compared with a deficit of €125m in May 2016.