UPDATE 2-Argentina's tax revenue jumps 26 percent in 2012

Wed Jan 2, 2013 6:11pm EST

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* December's revenue up 27 percent to record from December 2011

* Inflation boosts tax take despite economic slowdown

BUENOS AIRES Jan 2 (Reuters) - Argentina's tax revenue last year rose 26 percent from the previous year as high inflation helped swell state coffers despite slower economic growth.

Total tax income for 2012 was 679.80 billion pesos ($138 billion).

December's revenue rose 27 percent from the same month a year earlier to a record 62.22 billion pesos, the government said on Wednesday. This slightly beat expectations in a Reuters poll.

Income tax revenue rose 36 percent in December versus December 2011, while social security contributions grew by 31.5 percent, according to official data.

Annual inflation, estimated privately at between 20 percent and 25 percent, helped fuel revenue growth, especially from consumer taxes, last year even as a long boom lost steam in Latin America's No. 3 economy.

Ricardo Echegaray, head of the AFIP tax agency, said last year's tax collection met government targets.

"We exceeded our budgetary goal by about 12.168 billion pesos," he told a news conference. "The VAT (value-added tax) revenue was a record in December of 18.17 billion pesos ... that represents an increase of 31.5 percent."

Argentina's tax revenue totaled 48.91 billion pesos in December 2011 and 540.13 billion pesos in the full year. .

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