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The Turnbull government is moving closer to getting the budget books back into the black, according to new figures.

In the mid-year budget review released in December the budget deficit was forecast to be $23.6 billion, down from $29.4 billion in the 2017 budget.

But the latest figures produced by the Finance Department on Friday show an underlying cash deficit in March of $19.666 billion.

The improving position is due to a rise in commodity prices and corporate earnings as well as the 400,000 jobs created in 2017 which boosted income tax receipts and kept a lid on welfare spending.

Company tax receipts are almost $1 billion ahead of the MYEFO forecast while income tax receipts are ahead by $1.8 billion.

Stronger than expected imports lifted customs duties up $527 million on the MYEFO forecast.

Expenses are down $3.76 billion on the mid-year forecast.