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Background Notes

Background Notes

Online ISSN: 2565-5590
CSO statistical publication, , 11am

This new CSO release publishes for the first time a comprehensive list of all taxes collected by the Irish Government. 

The tax data are measured and classified in accordance with the framework of the European System of Accounts (ESA) 2010. This harmonised framework is the standard used by all European Member States in order to provide consistent and comparable data. Under ESA taxes are  ‘time adjusted’ to align the time period of the receipt with the particular economic transaction or event. For example, income tax deducted under PAYE is paid one month after the pay period. In this release we therefore move PAYE by one month.  Therefore the statistics in this publication differ from other statistical reports such as those produced by the Revenue Commissioners or in the Department of Finance’s Exchequer statements (fiscal monitor) which are reported on a cash receipt basis.

Data sources

These statistics are compiled from a number of different data sources, with the principal source being the Revenue Commissioners who collect some 95% of all taxes. Other data suppliers include the Department of Social Protection (PRSI); Local Authorities (commercial rates) and other government departments and public sector bodies (e.g. An Post for TV licences and the CRU for public service obligation levy).

Classification of general government tax revenue

The taxes in this publication are classified in accordance with ESA. ESA defines taxes as compulsory, unrequited payments, in cash or in kind, which are levied by government, or by the European Union. The tables in this publication are classified in line with the ESA transaction codes, details as follows:

Taxes on products (D.21)

Taxes on products are taxes that are payable per unit of a given good or service produced or transacted. Typical product taxes include: VAT; Excise duties; Stamp duties; Custom duties. Customs duties differ from other taxes with Member States collecting customs on behalf of the European Union. Other product taxes include electricity tax, the plastic bag levy and the health insurance risk equalisation.

Payments to the health insurance risk equalisation scheme are also classified as a product tax as the levy is borne by the purchaser of health insurance and the fund is administered by the Health Insurance Authority.

Other taxes on production (D.29)

Other taxes on production consist of all taxes that enterprises incur as a result of engaging in production, independently of the quantity or value of the goods and services produced or sold. These include taxes on use or ownership of land or buildings and taxes on the use of fixed assets. Typical production taxes in Ireland include: Commercial rates; Motor tax on business vehicles; Property taxes (e.g. local property tax); the National Training Fund levy; Environment fund & land fill levies; Public Service Obligation levy: Electricity tax; Levies paid by banks and credit unions to the Central Bank under the Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

Commercial Rates are levied and collected by the local authorities on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the Valuation Act 2001. The figures in this publication refer to the actual cash raised in commercial rates and therefore exclude uncollected rates, in accordance with ESA.

Motor taxes paid on business vehicles are classified as a tax incurred in the course of running the business and therefore categorised as a tax on production. Whereas motor tax paid by individuals on personally held cars are classified as tax on income and wealth.

Property Taxes, i.e. local property tax, are levied on the owners of residential dwellings, other than vacant units, are classified as production taxes as they are a tax on dwelling services. For many years Ireland did not have a residential property tax and relied on stamp duty from the conveyancing of properties.

The National Training Fund levy is a levy by employers under the National Training Fund Act, 2000. It provides funding to the National Training Fund and therefore is classified as a tax on production rather than a tax on income. 

The public service obligation (PSO) levy is paid through the PSO fund. This has been set up to support the national policy objectives of security of energy supply, the use of indigenous fuels (i.e. peat) and the use of renewable energy sources in electricity generation, as set out in legislation.

The deposit guarantee scheme (DGS) protects depositors in the event of a bank, building society or credit union authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland being unable to repay deposits up to a maximum of €100,000 per person per instituition.  The DGS is administered by the Central Bank of Ireland and is funded by the financial credit institutions covered by the scheme. Each institution is required to remit a percentage of their total deposits to the Central Bank. These are classified for statistics purposes as production taxes. The tax flows will be negative in years where the amount on deposit at the end of the year is lower than the previous year.

Current taxes on income and wealth (D.5)

Current taxes on income and wealth cover all compulsory, unrequited payments, in cash or in kind, levied periodically by general government and by the rest of the world on the income and wealth. Examples include Income tax; Corporation tax, Motor tax (private cars), Capital Gains tax and the Pensions levy.

Net social contributions (D.61)

Net Social contributions are the actual contributions made by households, including their employers’ contributions, to social insurance schemes to make provision for social benefits to be paid, principally pension provision. The tax revenues reported in this publication are those collected under the Pay Related Social Insurance scheme (PRSI). Further data on social contributions is availabe in the pxstat table.

Capital taxes (D.91)

Capital taxes consist of taxes levied at irregular and very infrequent intervals on the values of the assets or net worth owned or transferred as a result of legacies, gifts between persons, or other transfers. In Ireland, the main example is Capital Acquisitions tax.

Classification of sectors of the economy

The sectors are classified in line with ESA. The sectors and sub-sectors distingushed in this publication are as follows:

S.13 General Government consists of central government (S.1311), local government (S1313) and social insurance fund (S.1314)

S.1311 Central Government consists of all revenues paid to the exchequer and includes all main taxes such as income tax, VAT, corporation tax.

S.1313 Local Government consists of all revenues paid to local goverment, the main one being commercial rates.

S.1314 consists of PRSI.

S.212 consists of all taxes paid to EU such as customs duty and the bank resolution fund.

Payable tax credits

Of particular note is the recording of income tax collected from taxpayers that occur where (a) a tax credit can be awarded to non-taxpayers as well as tax payers or (b) where the tax relief to taxpayers exceeds their liability and the beneficiary receives the excess. These are known as ‘Payable Tax Credits’. Examples are the mortgage relief available to first time buyers and the tax credit on medical insurance premium payments. In accordance with ESA, the whole amount of payable tax credits is included in total of income taxes and the corresponding expenditure (i.e. payment to the bank or medical insurance company) is recorded as government expenditure, and not as a reduction of tax revenue. There is no impact on the general government deficit/surplus.

This contrasts with the tax receipts reported by the Revenue Commissioners and in the Exchequer Statements which exclude tax credits.

In Ireland there are currently two payable tax credits which fall into this category – mortgage interest relief and health insurance relief. Previous payable tax credit schemes included the payment of a ‘top-up’ of 25% of the total deposit to holders of Special Incentive Savings and Investment Scheme (SSIA) accounts and the interim Health Insurance Levy (age related) which applied from 2009 to 2012.

Time adjustment for tax statistics

These statistics are ‘time adjusted’ to align with the particular economic transaction or event. Therefore the statistics in this publication differ from other statistical reports such as those produced by the Revenue Commissioners or in the Department of Finance’s Exchequer statements (fiscal monitor) which are mainly reported on cash receipt basis.

The principle time adjustments are one month in the case of PAYE income taxes and excise duties, and two months for VAT.

Debt warehouse

The debt warehouse was a scheme introduced by Government to support businesses during the pandemic. The scheme allowed business to defer tax liabilities, under certain terms and conditions. Under ESA these deferred taxes should be included in the period of activity, as is the case for other time adjusted taxes. The data compiled includes an estimate for taxes accrued but not yet paid under the Government’s tax warehouse scheme: approximately 85% of all warehoused taxes have been accrued to 2020 and 2021.

Using the latest data provided by the Revenue Commissioner, €2.2 billion has been accrued to date, €1,1 billion in 2020 and €1.1 billion in 2021. The debt warehousing accrual has been applied to VAT, PAYE and PRSI. The accrual adjustment will be kept under review as new information becomes available.

International context

This release complements the international tax statistics reports by the OECD and Eurostat.

The latest OECD report on tax revenue can be found on the OECD website: OECD Revenue Statistics 2021 

Eurostat publishes the National Tax Lists of all EU countries and can be found on the Eurostat website: Eurostat Tax Revenue Statistics 

Environment taxes

An environment tax is defined by Regulation (EU) 691/2011 as:

“A tax whose tax base is a physical unit (or a proxy of a physical unit) of something that has a proven, specific negative impact on the environment, and which is identified in ESA as a tax.”

The latest release of environment taxes by category of tax and economic sector of the payee is available on the CSO’s website.

The CSO welcomes suggestions on additional outputs that users would like to get on this topic.