Tax refunds still delayed


Ideally, tax refunds and rebates should be released by the end of May or in early June. However, a month and a half after June, the Finance Department has yet to release the tax refunds for fiscal year 2018 and there is still no definite word on when those checks will start flowing.

According to Finance Secretary David Atalig in a statement, the tax refunds for fiscal year 2018 are “still in process.”

“…We are working on our fourth batch of child tax rebates. As for tax refunds, we are identifying funds so we can do our best to release them as soon as we can,” Atalig told Saipan Tribune.

Last July 11, 2019, the Finance Department told Saipan Tribune that they were still finalizing the tax refund numbers to ensure minimal errors and are set to release them once “local funding is identified.”

Atalig noted yesterday that the delay is caused by the government’s large expenditure for Super Typhoon Yutu recovery as well as the dip in tax collections that followed the typhoon, which drained a large chunk of the general fund.

“Unfortunately, it is caused by the huge amount expended for the response and recovery from Super Typhoon Yutu and the slow process of getting reimbursed by [the Federal Emergency Management Agency]. Also, as we know, our revenue collections were hampered and we had to adjust our budget for [fiscal year] 2019,” he said.

Unlike child tax rebates, which are federally funded, Atalig noted that tax refunds come from the general fund.

This year’s total tax rebate and refunds amount to nearly $21 million, $11 million of which are child tax rebates. Last year, there were a total of $26 million in total tax rebate and refunds, with over $8 million in child tax rebates.

“[I am] asking for the patience and understanding of all our CNMI taxpayers, as the administration is doing its best to secure funding for the release of all tax rebates and refunds. It is a priority to get these funds into the hands of families so that it can assist them in their financial needs, as we are still all recovering from Super Typhoon Yutu,” Atalig told Saipan Tribune in a previous statement.

Since July 2, 2019, the Finance Department has been releasing child tax rebates as they become available and when Finance obtains the authority to drawdown the funds.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.