Software delays remaining tax rebates
The second and final batch of tax rebates for fiscal year 2019 will likely be released next Friday, according to Department of Finance Secretary David Atalig.
The final touches on the remaining $2 million in tax rebates for fiscal year 2019 would be completed next week and distributed by next Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, Atalig told Saipan Tribune in an interview.
In following up on the second batch of tax rebates, which were supposed to be distributed in mid-September according to Atalig, Saipan Tribune learned that changes in the tax formula implemented in fiscal year 2019 caused some issues in the calculations of the tax rebates.
“We…should be finalizing our second batch [of tax rebates] this week. Hopefully, our consultants clear everything, and we would be releasing the second batch by next Friday,” he told Saipan Tribune.
While tax rebates are supposed to be paid within the fiscal year, Atalig noted that tax reforms caused some errors in the software his department uses in the calculation of rebates.
That and the devastation of Super Typhoon Yutu in late October 2018 didn’t help at all with the rebate distribution.
“It is what it is,” he said, responding to a question if tax rebates for fiscal year 2019 can be carried over into fiscal year 2020. “We are doing our best to process and, at the same time, we had issues because the federal tax laws changed in 2018. We had to reprogram and re-customize our tax system to accommodate the [changes], so it has been a trial and error, trying to get clearance in terms of numbers.”
Atalig noted that accuracy in the refunds were paramount, causing the delay in the second batch’s distribution.
“We don’t want to go back saying [the Finance Department] owes you [money] or you owe us. It obviously didn’t help to not have the funds at the time to release…but we were able to put some money aside,” Atalig said.
Tax rebates amount to nearly $21 million, $11 million of which is for the federally-funded child tax rebate.