Blümel: Economic recovery is setting government budget on a positive course Incoming payments of EUR 37.5 billion compare with outgoing payments of EUR 50.5 billion. Tax revenues are rising, though spending on assistance is still considerable

The federal budget figures for the first half of 2021 have now been published. The report, presented to Parliament by the Federal Ministry of Finance, on the one hand reflects the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and on the other hand reveals positive trends in a number of indicators. For example, higher tax revenues, as well as higher unemployment insurance contributions, have been achieved. In total, gross tax revenues have grown by 15.4% on the previous year.

"The opening up that has taken place over the past few weeks is having a positive effect on economic performance. The current forecasts by the Austrian Institute of Economic Research exceed previous predictions, and real economic output is 11.4% higher than in the same quarter last year. The improved economic climate is also evident in the positive trends seen in terms of budget implementation for the first half of the year. Tax revenues are increasing, and in the case of payroll taxes alone, due to the positive employment situation compared with last year, revenues are up by around EUR 727 million," declares Gernot Blümel in his comments on the latest report.

The adjusted incoming payments total EUR 37.5 billion, which is up by EUR 5.4 billion, or 16.7%, on the same period last year. The higher adjusted receipts result principally from higher incoming payments in the areas of public taxes (+ EUR 5.2 billion), labour (+ EUR 803.1 million), family and youth (+ EUR 314.9 million), justice (+ EUR 142.4 million), and cash management (+ EUR 68.4 million).

This is set against adjusted outgoing payments totalling EUR 50.5 billion, up by EUR 7.6 billion (+17.8%) on the same period in the previous year. The higher adjusted outgoing payments result largely from higher expenditure in the areas of federal property (+ EUR 3 362.0 million), pensions insurance (+ EUR 750.4 million), labour (+ EUR 607.8 million, financial equalisation (+ EUR 584.2 million) and healthcare (+ EUR 559.1 million). 

Monthly performance statistics also include latest COVID-19 reporting

Until 30 June, applications could be made for relief on tax payments based on COVID-19. As at 15 July, the amount of tax deferrals still granted amounted to EUR 2.3 billion. For the 'safety-car' phase, a total of 32 414 applications were submitted, of which, as at 27 July, 31 939, or 98.5%, had been approved.

In addition, as at 15 July, EUR 2.6 billion had been approved in relation to the turnover loss bonus, with the vast majority of this amount covering the month of March 2021 (EUR 693.5 million approved, and EUR 691.2 million paid out). From the NPO Support Fund, up to 30 June 2021 EUR 446.7 million had been paid out to applicants. For the first time, the report also contains figures on loss compensation; up to 15 July 2021, applications from 524 applicant companies were approved and settled. The grants provided total EUR 259.1 million, of which EUR 181.2 million has already been paid out.

Up to 15 July 2021, 289 464 applications were approved for short-time working, including extensions. As at 15 July 2021, outgoing payments for short-time work (for 2020 and 2021) totalled EUR 8.7 billion.

Blümel: "We will continue to help businesses in need. It is important not to create false incentives in the current phase of the recovery, and this will also help the government budget. Vaccines are our way back to economic and social normality, and so I hope that as many people as possible will take advantage of this opportunity. Lower infection rates will not only ease the burden on the healthcare system, but will also secure jobs and businesses."

All current data on budget implementation (monthly reports) may be found on the Ministry of Finance website.