Child tax credit checks out by August – ‘maybe’

GOVERNOR: Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero made the commemoration message at the Inalåhan War Memorial ceremony July 15. She told reporters Monday that Guam could issue the first advanced child tax credits to local parents in August. Post file photo

Guam parents could receive half of next year’s child tax credits in advance – as soon as next month.

But the checks will not be issued monthly on Guam, unlike what the federal government rolled out this month.

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero at a press conference Monday said the government of Guam could launch its own program as soon as August.

“I’m thinking maybe by next month,” she said of a potential timeline to start issuing the first advance payment.

As part of a congressional COVID-19 aid package, the IRS automatically enrolled federal taxpayers in a program that pays them half of their total child tax credit amount this year. These tax credits were also raised by different amounts, depending on income level and a child’s age.

According to a fact sheet about the change released by the White House, a married couple with two children younger than 6 can be eligible for a child tax credit of $7,200 this year – at least $3,200 more than before the change was enacted. The family in the White House’s example would also receive an advance credit of $3,600 in 2020, and the remaining half in 2022.

The governor said Guam will limit the frequency of payments issued by the Department of Revenue and Taxation. No official decision was made as of Monday, but Leon Guerrero said she was leaning toward cutting just a few checks in light of the workload it would take to accomplish payments every month.

“I think it’s like thousands of checks and to do that monthly is a really great tax on resources. So we’re discussing about giving it as (a single) lump sum, or twice a year,” she said.

Eligible local filers will be automatically enrolled in the advanced payment program, though Guam is in the process of creating a web-based opt-out service for those who want to receive a full credit next year, DRT Director Dafne Mansapit-Shimizu previously told The Guam Daily Post.

GovGuam will also get a windfall, thanks to the federal policy. Mansapit-Shimizu explained that in years past, the general fund only was reimbursed partially for the cost of paying the full Child Tax Credit. The American Rescue Plan not only increased the amount of the credit, but also now will pay back the local treasury fully. The government of Guam has been paying an average of about $30 million in these credits before the ARP increased them, according to DRT’s director.

The local government and residents are additionally benefitting from increased payouts for welfare programs, the governor mentioned Monday, but she stressed that part of Guam’s economic rebound will be a decreased need for federal bailouts.

“I feel very confident that we will shift from financial aid to a more sustainable way of supporting income and supporting the finances of our families,” Leon Guerrero said.

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