The finance chief has sought to play down forecasts that government accounts will turn from a deficit to a surplus of more than $20 billion. While confirming the economic upturn had brought bigger-than-expected revenues, Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said yesterday this anticipated windfall had not made his job easier. 'People have greater expectations as a result. I have always said the treasurer's job is no easy task,' he told Cable TV. Last year, the government estimated it would record a deficit of $10.5 billion in 2005-06. But auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers believe the administration will end up with a surplus of more than $20 billion, while the Taxation Institute of Hong Kong is estimating a surplus of $10 billion. Mr Tang said such optimistic forecasts were superficial. He said analysts might not have full details about the spending side and non-recurrent revenue, such as land premium receipts. Amid growing calls for a tax reduction to ease the burden on the middle class, Lloyd Deverall, partner-in-charge at KPMG, said yesterday it was not the time to hand out permanent concessions. 'This year is a year of consolidation and not a year to give everything back,' he said. KPMG is estimating a consolidated budget surplus of only $5 billion this financial year and does not recommend that the government introduce a permanent tax cut in 2006/07. 'The government should avoid formulating fiscal policies based on cyclical economic performance,' he said. 'Instead, it should identify measures to resolve persistent structural fiscal problems, as well as broaden the tax base and stabilise revenue collection.' KMPG is also calling for some relief measures, including exempting government rates for one quarter and extending home-loan interest deductions. It says the government should also speed up talks for double taxation agreements with the mainland and other targeted countries such as Vietnam.