Taxpayers say release couldn’t have come sooner
The Department of Finance’s announcement that it would release the first batch of over 3,600 tax checks worth over $7 million beginning today, July 2, couldn’t come any sooner for many island residents.
I Love Saipan’s Prinze Salvosa is expecting one less zero in his rebate and tax return check this year compared to previous years.
With his eldest now 18 years old and ineligible to get child tax, he expects to get only around $300 this year. Worse, he only started working again last October after being capped out from the foreign worker program, or CW, in January 2018.
“I usud to get $2,500 but, because only two of them are eligible now, so I’m only expecting to get $300 or so,” he told Saipan Tribune.
When asked what he usually does with the money he gets from the rebate and tax return, Salvosa said he usually gives a portion of the child tax to his children and what’s left he saves.
A mother of six said she will use the $4,600 she expects to receive for her children’s education. Like Salvosa, the 40-year-old who didn’t want to be named said her rebate and tax return are lower this year because of shorter hours at work.
A 35-year-old accountant who didn’t want to be named said she would also use the money for education, specifically to buy books and school materials. With her four children, she expects to get the full amount in child tax worth $5,600.
Todd, who is from Illinois and also wants to remain anonymous, said he’s been waiting since June for the CNMI government to release the tax checks. Todd has two kids and usually gets $1,400 in rebate and child tax.
“This year it will be for plane tickets. My girls will be going to the [United] States with their mom. …And they want to see how things are stateside and visit family there,” he said when asked what he would do with the money.
In a statement yesterday, the Department of Finance said the first batch will be composed of over 3,600 of tax checks.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres also reiterated his administration’s commitment to releasing tax refunds, rebates, and child tax as soon as they become available.
“I want our hardworking taxpayers to know that this administration is taking every measure possible to get these funds in your hands, starting with $7.1 million in child tax rebates. Protecting our families is a top priority, and these funds will help families with children increase their ability to meet their most immediate needs,” he said in the statement.
Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios also expressed his appreciation to Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig and his team at Revenue and Taxation, Treasury, and Electronic Data Processing “for working tirelessly these last few weeks for our taxpayers.”
“These checks will go a long way for our families. We look forward to the release of additional checks for our community,” Palacios added.
New tax requirements
According to Atalig, the first batch is composed of filers who have dependent(s), who filed on time, and are clear of any errors and fees.
With the implementation of the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act under the Trump administration, the Division of Revenue & Taxation had to make changes to the current tax information system in order to comply with the new tax law requirements.
Additionally, Finance decided to delay the implementation of ACH deposits in order to expedite the processing of tax returns. All taxpayers who opted for the ACH deposit will receive their checks in the mail.
“I thank our Finance personnel under the Division of Revenue and Taxation, CNMI Treasury, and Division of Electronic Data Processing for their hard work ensuring that funds are processed accurately and as quickly as possible. We are excited for the release of these funds so that families can improve their current financial situation and increase spending in our economy,” Atalig said.
He added that all refunds, including for Tinian and Rota, will be released in the mail. All taxpayers are asked to allow two weeks’ time for the U.S. Postal Service to sort and distribute mail.
Any issues from prior year tax filings may delay the release of the tax checks. Atalig reminds filers to clear those prior year items at their earliest convenience.
Finance will notify the public of the next release dates when available.