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10.5K to get stimulus today

Finance to start mailing today over 21,000 paper checks totaling $40M
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Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig disclosed yesterday that about 10,500 taxpayers who chose to receive their stimulus payments via direct deposit will receive the money in their bank accounts starting today, Monday, and within 48 hours. That’s for a total of about $26 million.

As for those who opted to get their stimulus payments via paper checks, Atalig said they printed over 21,000 checks totaling about $40 million and these will be mailed out today.

Each stimulus check is worth at least $1,400 each. The releases today represent just the first batch. There will still be future batches of stimulus payments. The CNMI will be receiving a total of $85 million for this tranche of stimulus payments.

Atalig said paper checks will be mailed out this morning, Monday, and taxpayers could expect these checks to be in their mailboxes during the week and next week.

As for direct deposit, the Finance secretary said those with Bank of Guam accounts can expect their stimulus funds to be in their account Monday afternoon; those with accounts in other banks should expect their direct deposit within 48 hours.

As for the paper checks, Atalig reminds recipients that the Department of Finance does not control how the post office will distribute and how quickly they can have these checks in their postal boxes.

He said the staff at Finance, most especially at the Division of Revenue and Taxation, Division of Treasury, and Division of Information Technology worked all weekend to ensure they had no further delays in getting these stimulus checks to the community who need this relief.

The administration of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres earlier blamed the delay in the release of stimulus payments last week on the U.S. Department of Treasury’s “unusually lengthy approval process” of the CNMI government’s implementation plan for the stimulus funds. The U.S. Treasury approved the CNMI’s implementation plan on the same day it also approved the plans of other U.S. territories like Guam.

Meanwhile, press secretary Kevin Bautista said yesterday that the Office of the Governor and Finance are aware of a video of checks being printed that is being circulated on social media. He pointed out that this is an old video taken several years ago by an employee who no longer works for Finance.

Bautista said the community is advised to stop circulating this old video of checks being printed as it is illegal to share personal financial information. “This video does not reflect the humble and hard work currently being done by Division of Revenue and Taxation employees to get stimulus checks out expeditiously,” Bautista said.

He said Finance does not allow its employees to record or take pictures of any activity involving sensitive financial information. “This policy has been strictly enforced under the Torres-Palacios administration to protect CNMI taxpayers, their families, and our community from theft and fraud,” Bautista added.

In his e-kilili newsletter, Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) said the CNMI should now be able to pay another $1,400 rebate to most Marianas taxpayers.

He said single tax filers with incomes up to $150,000 and head of household filers with incomes up to $112,500 are eligible for the full $1,400. Joint filers with incomes up to $150,000 are eligible for $2,800. Each dependent child will also receive $1,400 and that the American Rescue Plan expanded the definition of dependent to include students over the age of 17, elderly adults, and disabled persons, who do not file their own tax returns.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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