SAIPAN — Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Finance Secretary David Atalig on Wednesday said the first batch of tax refunds will be released this week.

"There are close to 10,000 taxpayers who are part of the first batch, which amounts to about $5 million," he said.

The refunds will be paid out as direct deposits or as paper checks.

"Taxpayers should expect to see this in their accounts by Thursday or Friday, for those who opted for direct deposit on their tax return forms. All others will be mailed out by Friday and, depending on the postal service, I expect they will all get it by the first part of next week,"Atalig said.

Taxpayers who opted for direct deposit will get their tax refunds in the first batch, as well as those who filed their taxes early and have "error-free" tax returns, he added.

"We sent a small batch out last Friday and those on direct deposit should be seeing it either Thursday or Friday," he said.

The paper checks will be released to the post office by Friday, Atalig reiterated.

"We had a slight delay due to the holiday and the banks were closed, as well as, Austerity Tuesday, again, due to the holiday."

He said that the amount of the second and third batches will be about $2.5 million each.

Atalig said the amounts that are disbursed are determined by how much he asks the Division of Revenue and Taxation to prepare and process, which, in turn, is based on the availability of funds.

During the governor's press briefing on Friday, Atalig said the second batch of refunds is expected to be released within 10 to 14 days after the first batch.

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