Will FG get the sums wrong again in Budget 2019?
Labour Finance spokesperson Joan Burton TD has advised the Minister for Finance to ensure he double checks his figures this year to avoid the mistake he made with commercial stamp duty in Budget 2018, and noted the extraordinary co-incidence of €1 billion of extra revenue being found four days before this year’s budget.
Deputy Burton said:
“To get the sums to add up last year the Minister for Finance introduced a 4% increase in commercial stamp duty that he said at the time would bring in an extra €376 million. The Minister was warned that this level of extra revenue was unlikely to materialise and that he shouldn’t rely on once off property transactions, and it was also criticised by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council.
“And that is exactly what the Government’s Budget White Paper published on Friday night shows. Total stamp duties are projected now for 2018 at €1.574bn. The tax revenue profiles for the year show that a total of €1.67bn was expected. At the end of September, total stamp duty was 9.7% of €101m off profile.
“There is a €100m hole in the Minister’s figures but he has managed to fill the gap with increased corporation tax returns.
“If any opposition party came out and proposed that budget overspends would be met through a €1 billion last minute windfall we’d rightly be laughed out of it.
“However the Minister managed to find an extra €1bn in corporation tax, down the back of the couch on Friday night, that conveniently helps him balance the books, pay a Christmas bonus and cover the overspend in health.
“Let’s hope that for next year the Minister’s figures add up correctly so he doesn’t have to resort to last minute windfalls.”