Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Economics 4/8/10:Exchequer July receipts

Note: Corrected version - hat tip to Seamus Coffey!

As promised in the previous post (which focused on the Exchequer balance, here), the present post will be focusing on actual tax receipts.

I have resisted for some time the idea that Budget 2010 targets are somehow analytically important. Hence, you will not find targets-linked analysis here. But the main tax heads - their comparative dynamics over 2008-2010 to date are below.

First, take a look at the actual cumulative to date levels.Overall tax receipts are now running below 2009 numbers, and are still way off 2008 numbers (off €1,536mln on 2009 and €5,520mln on 2008). This means we are now 8.22% below 2009 and 24.35% on 2008.

Two largest contributors to the receipts are Vat and Income Tax:Vat is now €483mln below 2009, and still €2,453mln behind 2008, which means we are now 6.9% down on 2009 and 27.5% behind 2008. One wonders how much of this Vat intake in 2010 is due to automotive sales increases driven (as I explained in earlier posts) predominantly by the 'vanity plates' with '10' on them. Income tax shows a similar pattern: down €537mln on 2009 (-8.45%) and €1,060 on 2009 (-15.4%).

Corporate tax and Excise are the next largest categories.Cumulative year to date, corporate tax receipts are performing weaker than in 2009 (-€260mln and -13.8%) and ahead of 2008 (+€192mln and 13.4%), but this is due to timing issues and financial markets recoveries in H1 2010. Excise taxes are still under-performing: down €87mln on 2009 (-3.37%) and €773mln (-23.7%) on 2008.

Transactions taxes are not faring well. Stamps are down €75mln on 2009 (-18.3%) and down €808mln on 2008 (-70.7%).

Surprise surprise, Capital Gains Tax is singing similar song:
So CGT is down €89mln (-44.3%) on 2009 - despite being beefed up by bull markets in financial assets, and is down €544mln (-83%) on 2008.

Year on year changes show stabilisation around 2009 levels.
Usually, the Exchequer returns publications now days provoke a roaring applause from our banks and other 'independent' analysts and the remarks about 'turning a corner'. This time - no difference. Nope, folks - let me stress - there is not even a stabilization around horrific results for 2009. Exchequer revenues are heading south. We haven't gotten anywhere close to resolving the crisis.

But let me show you what this bottom will look like, once we are there.
It is a horrific place in which personal income and consumption-related taxes bear roughly 75.2% of all tax burden (up from 62.5% in 2008 and 68.6% in 2009). Meanwhile, physical capital taxes contribution to the budget have shrunk from 14.7% in 2008 to 9% in 2009 and 4.2% in 2010. Corporate tax, despite the robust performance now contributes only 9.5% of total tax receipts down from 2009 level of 12.4% and 2008 level of 13.5%.

In other words, those who benefit less of all demographic and economic groups, from public services - the upper middle classes - are now paying more than 50% of the total tax receipts bill. This, in the words of some of our illustrious guardians of social justice is called 'protecting the poor'. In other times, in other lands, it was also called 'taxation without representation'.

I would rather call it a tax on human capital - the very core input into 'knowledge economy' that we need to get us out of the long term economic depression.


Seamus said...


This all looks a little hooky. Like you I did a quick run through the figures but all our numbers are different!

I won't go through all of them but tax revenue is down €1,536 million or 8.2%. You have a figure of €248 million. Income tax alone is down €537 million. said...

"You can't make a weak man strong by making a strong man weak"

Abraham Lincoln knew that, yet 150 years later the Irish government don't.

TrueEconomics said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TrueEconomics said...

Actually, Seamus - you are right - a typo in my data base pushed 2010 target into 2009 cells... corrected version is on line... Thanks!

Chris Connolly said...

But the upper middle class are in Ireland mostly the civil servants and employees of multinationals lured here, so their mobility is somewhat limited. Sorry Constantin, you'll have to move if you want to keep more of that salary.

TrueEconomics said...

Yes, Chris, I know. Negative equity is holding people like me back from moving.