GTA is countersuing the government of Guam, alleging an initial legal complaint over its handling of increased business privilege taxes was “groundless, brought in bad faith, and brought for the purpose of harassment.”
The Office of the Attorney General filed its lawsuit in late February, accusing the telecommunications company of illegally imposing a surcharge on its customers to pass on the cost of the most recent BPT hike, which was approved by lawmakers and the governor in 2018 in response to mirrored federal income tax cuts.
But GTA in a reply brief filed Tuesday asserted that a 2005 General Exchange Tariff document approved by the Public Utilities Commission expressly authorizes automatic price adjustments due to tax increases.
“Any change in rates, rules or regulations as allowed by law or order of the commission modifies the terms of the contract to the extent of such change without further notice,” the tariff document, which was attached to the suit, reads in part. GTA’s assessment of the BPT is approved by this language, the counterclaim states, adding that the document and PUC order “constitute notice to the public of GTA’s rates and charges.”
GTA also took issue with the months-long investigation into the matter, saying the OAG requested “vague, ambiguous, overbroad and irrelevant documents and information” of the company. “Some of the requests were unintelligible,” the lawsuit alleges.
The company is requesting that the local court dismiss the suit against it in its entirety, award attorney’s fees and costs to GTA, and “other relief as may be necessary and proper.”