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Rev & Tax takes the hot seat

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Rev & Tax officials once again took to the hot seat before lawmakers giving updates on the department from customer service and accounts receivable as well as addressing some new concerns such as hotel occupancy taxes.

It's their fourth oversight this year and right from the get-go, Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz grilled Rev & Tax over his Freedom of Information Act sent last week. "In my FOIA request I asked you to go give an alphabet to each of the hotels who are delinquent in their Hotel Occupancy Tax. Do you remember that request?" he asked. Rev & tax director John Camacho replied that he did.

It was last week, when Cruz wrote to Camacho over whether hotels were paying hotel occupancy taxes as he was informed by tourism officials that they were in fact not doing so.

Camacho said his staff were still verifying accounts receivable for the Hotel Occupancy Tax adding its point of sales systems was down as well. But it didn't stop there as Cruz presented documents from Department of Administration tracking the hotels showing several blank spaces.

"How difficult could it be to follow whether or not 47 hotels are current in their payment and when I look at this, at least for the entire fiscal year, all three quarters, these 18 concerns have not paid anything for the year," he said.

Camacho responded he wasn't aware of such listing. "This is the first time I've seen this document, if you've given me this document earlier, I could have asked my staff looked into," he stated. Cruz said, "I'm trying to figure out John how you run your operations, which is the reason why I asked my question."

Cruz in the meantime agreed to give Rev & Tax 10 additional days to comply with the FOIA. And moving Rev & tax's accounts receivables, oversight chair Senator Michael San Nicolas raised some concern for instance over 18 million in withholding taxes that have yet to be paid along $27 million in total abatements for this current fiscal year.

"I really need help understanding how we're able to abate that much money," he said.

But it wasn't all bad news, as San Nicolas commended Rev & Tax for improving on its accounts receivable from its report in May from $196 million down to $117 million. "So that's a drastic improvement, which means you guys went in and did a lot of reconciliation," he said.

Meanwhile, San Nicolas addressed the infamous letter exchange between he and Camacho over concerns on customer service and San Nicolas's recent experience at the department. Camacho acknowledged that he did not in fact write the letter in which San Nicolas thanked him for his honesty. 

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