CNMI residents begin using tax checks to shop

Residents of the CNMI can expect to get their tax rebate checks any time soon with the Department of Finance releasing checks as early as last week.

In fact, some recipients of the tax checks have been using the checks to shop as early as Saturday.

Some stores throughout Garapan, including 99 Cents, Martha’s Store, and Joeten Garapan reported entertaining customers with the tax checks on hand.

A clerk at Martha’s Store, who requested anonymity, said residents use the tax checks “to buy milk and diapers.” The clerk said others chose to buy canned goods and other food items.

At 99 Cents, the on-duty clerk said the store accommodated quite a number of residents using the checks on Saturday.

She said this is probably because the banks are close on weekends. The on-duty staff also said canned goods and basic food items seem to the most popular item on the grocery lists of the customers using the check.

At Joeten Shopping Center in Garapan, customers using the tax checks came in trickles. A Joeten staff explained that the store first verifies the check from the government through a supervisor before it can be used.

In other stores, customers need to spend at least 10 percent of the amount on the check to be able to shop. For instance, a customer with a $1,000 check needs to spend at least $100 to be able to shop.

A 45-year-old Garapan resident, meanwhile, said he already received a child tax check over the weekend and plans to deposit it once the banks open on a weekday.

Follow up

Finance Secretary Larissa Larson, meanwhile, said her department “is grateful to our taxpayers for their patience.”

“If you do not receive your tax check by July 17, please stop by the Division of Revenue and Taxation as there may be an error that needs correcting,” Larson said.

The official added that, “this also applies to anyone waiting for a tax check from calendar year 2013 and/or earlier. There is most likely an error that needs correcting in order to process and release those checks as well.”

Gov. Eloy S. Inos also released a statement saying he is “pleased to share that the Department of Finance has mailed out the first batch of child tax checks and will continue to do so for the next batches.”

Inos is also advising residents to call or visit the Finance department’s Division of Revenue and Taxation “to clear any errors.”

The Finance department earlier said it is currently processing the next batch of refunds, rebates, and child tax credit funds that will be approximately $3.3 million to close to 5,000 taxpayers.

This batch will be released to those taxpayers who filed their returns by March 31, 2015.

Joel D. Pinaroc | Reporter
Joel Pinaroc worked for a number of newspapers in the Philippines before joining the editorial team of Saipan Tribune. His published articles include stories on information technology, travel and lifestyle, and motoring, among others. Contact him at joel_pinaroc@saipantribune.com.

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