The latest Exchequer figures from the Department of Finance show that there was an €800m year-on-year drop in revenues in Q1 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.
Tax receipts for the month of March amounted to €3,704 million, significantly under the monthly target by 22.5% or €1.073bn.
The drop was mainly down to the challenges faced by businesses across the economy as they struggle to stay afload amid the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.
The state also spent 7.6% more than planned, the result of measures enacted to prop up employers and employees over the coming months.
Overall, in the three months to the end of March, the Exchequer showed a deficit of €2.5bn. This compares to a deficit of €966m in the same period last year.
Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, said: “Today’s figures give the first indication of how the COVID 19 pandemic will impact the public finances, with tax revenues set to decline steeply over the coming months.
“Combined with the fall in tax revenues, these measures will result in a large fiscal deficit this year.
“Thanks to appropriate budgetary policy over recent years, we meet this challenge from a position of strength – a budget surplus, cash reserves and significant progress in lowering our debt. Let there be no doubt that the government will continue to play its part in meeting this extraordinary challenge.”
Also published was the latest live register figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which show that people in receipt of payments is now over 500,000 whe numbers receiving pandemic payments is included.
Minister Donohoe was bullish about the economy’s prospects. “Once the virus is under control, it is expected that the economy can and will recover quite rapidly,” he said.