Typhoon delayed tax rebates


Tax rebates for fiscal year 2019 that are all clear and had already been printed were delayed for distribution due to Typhoon Bualoi, which nearly hit Saipan early Tuesday morning.

Finance Secretary David Atalig told Saipan Tribune that, although the checks for the tax rebates had already been printed, Typhoon Bualoi, which forced the CNMI government to close on Monday and Tuesday, hindered the sorting and the distribution of the checks.

He assured, though, that his department would definitely be distributing the checks by the end of this week.

“We printed out the checks on Friday. We were going to sort [Tuesday] and release [Wednesday], but, because of the typhoon, we will be sorting it [Wednesday] and we will be getting them out this week,” he said.

The second batch of the fiscal year 2019 tax rebates have long been in process, with several unintended hindrances getting in the way.

In a previous interview, Atalig noted that his department had to double check the second batch of rebate checks because of changes to federal taxes, causing a technical difficulty in the current program that calculates the tax rebates in the CNMI.

The Finance Department released its first batch of tax rebates last Sept. 18, which amounted to about $7.48 million. The second batch, according to Atalig, is about $2.1 million. There will be a third and final batch of tax rebates but those check were delayed only because of some discrepancies.

“There are still a lot of people with corrections that need to be made and verifications that need to be done, but we are releasing the checks that have been all cleared,” he said, adding that those who don’t receive their tax rebates for fiscal year 2019 might need to give the Division of Revenue and Taxes additional documents.

The rebates total nearly $21 million in all, $11 million of which is for the federally funded child tax rebate.

Atalig previously affirmed that the tax refund money was temporarily used for Super Typhoon Yutu recovery, causing a delay in the release of the annual tax rebates for fiscal year 2018. Tax rebates are usually distributed around the end of May or early July.

“…With the governor’s emergency declaration for the response and recovery of Super Typhoon Yutu, all monies were used to get us through. Unfortunately, we were not reimbursed as quickly as anticipated, therefore I couldn’t replenish it to the levels needed for the full refund,” Atalig previously said.

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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