The Exchequer recorded a deficit of €7.473 billion in April, more than double the deficit of €3.192bn recorded in April of last year.

Spending to the end of April was up €2.4bn, or 13.5%, on where it was planned to be, primarily due to Covid-19 related expenditure by the Department of Health and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Tax receipts in April were down 8%, or €223m, on the same month last year.

Tax receipts in the year to April were down 0.6%, or €86m.

Cumulative expenditure to the end of April compared to the same period last year is 23.5% ahead. 

The impact of Covid-19 on tax receipts has yet to work its way through the Exchequer figures, according to a statement from the Department of Finance. 

This is because April is generally not a month when companies file their VAT returns and income tax receipts are largely based on pay roll numbers from March, before hundreds of thousands of people were laid off. 

However, the Department has reassessed its estimate of tax for the rest of the year. The impact of Covid-19 will, it believes, result in €13.9bn in lost revenue, some 22% lower than previously assumed. 

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Commenting on the figures, Peter Vale, Tax Partner at Grant Thornton Ireland, said the impact on VAT and income tax receipts would become more apparent in future returns.

"VAT receipts will continue to be hit hard by a combination a reduction in disposable income, fewer opportunities to spend and the deferral of VAT payments by businesses," he said.

"Income tax will suffer as unemployment levels approach 20% and many businesses defer the payment of income tax. While there may be some recovery before year end, both VAT and income tax will finish the year substantially behind the original target," he concluded.