‘Tax refunds to be released when funding becomes available’

Total of nearly $21M in tax refunds and child tax rebates

This year’s tax refunds will be released as soon as local funding is identified, according to the CNMI Department of Finance.

Finance Secretary David Atalig told Saipan Tribune in an earlier interview that several newly implemented tax reforms caused some software technical issues that delayed the release of some tax refunds.

Atalig added yesterday that tax refund checks would be released “as local funding are identified” and that the department is still “finalizing our batches to ensure there are no errors.”

“[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,” he said in a statement to Saipan Tribune.

Atalig previously noted that tax refunds and rebates are obtained solely from local funding while child tax rebates are obtained from federal funding.

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.

“People got more tax credits,” he said, referring to the newly implemented tax reforms when U.S. President Donald J. Trump signed last Dec. 22, 2017, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

According to Atalig, the higher tax credits came with the tradeoff of lesser taxes being taken off for individuals throughout the year.

Because of this, “…they would be getting less refunds than expected.”

Atalig used a constant annual tax refund of $1,000 as an example. “You’d probably get around $500 to $600 this year,” he said.

Last July 2, 2019, the Finance Department started releasing $7 million in child tax rebates. The remaining tax rebates would be released in two batches, according to Atalig.

He noted Finance is expecting a second batch of child tax rebates and hopes to receive the funds from the Internal Revenue Service within the next couple of weeks.

“Once we have the authorization to drawdown these funds, we will be releasing the next batch of child tax rebates in the amount of over $1.6 million, [with the] third batch of about $2.7 million shortly after,” he told Saipan Tribune.

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.
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