by Mindy Aguon
Guam - According to the governor's biennial budget plan, Eddie Calvo wants to borrow up to $336 million later this year - more than half of which would go to pay tax refunds while the rest would go to help pay down the government's looming deficit. And chances are you're one of the thousands of residents who have been waiting year after year for your refund but nothing's come in the mail.
So where is GovGuam in processing and paying our tax refunds?
Department of Revenue & Tax Director John Camacho informed lawmakers that the government owes an estimated $254 million in tax refunds dating back to 2003. The government owes $68 million for 2009 returns that have already been processed but are simply awaiting payment. Camacho noted that the average individual refund has doubled from $1,200 in 2004 to $2,600 for 2010.
Rev & Tax has already started processing 2010 returns. But even though refunds are being processed, acting Department of Administration director Benita Manglona reiterated that there's just no money to start cutting checks to start putting refunds back in the hands of taxpayers. Senator Ben Pangelinan questioned, "Once we hit those revenue numbers, those are the amounts that should be set aside. And you're telling me right now you may not have those available to use for income tax refunds because of other obligations of the appropriations authorized?"
"Yes," Manglona replied. "There's just not enough cash coming that's the reason we have when we say we can't pay out tax refunds."
Manglona also added that DOA is complying with the law and prioritizing the payment of tax refunds utilizing the make work pay and additional child tax credits. In May the government paid out close to $6 million in tax refunds expecting to immediately be reimbursed, but Manglona says they're still waiting for that to happen, which compounded the government's current cash shortage.