Nearly 14,700 processed tax refunds for 2019 are awaiting payment, according to the latest Tax Refund Status Report submitted by the Department of Revenue and Taxation. The report also indicates that nearly 3,000 tax returns were still unprocessed.

These numbers represent data up to Nov. 3 and overall show that the number of processed refunds awaiting payment had dropped by about 11,200 from September. The number of unprocessed claims increased slightly, by about 300, but the filing deadline also passed in mid-October and DRT Director Dafne Mansapit-Shimizu said the department received additional filings.

However, the number of processed returns awaiting payment this year is about 12,000 more compared to the same time last year.

About 49,000 returns have been processed so far this year.

Sen. Sabina Perez, who oversees DRT, commended the department for processing the majority of tax returns filed this year, as did Sen. Therese Terlaje.

But Terlaje also noted that the refund amount still owed was listed at $33.8 million, while at the same time last year there was only $7 million owed in refunds. Following that, only about 2,177 refunds were still awaiting payment during this time last year.

"If you can verify it, because we know that the Section 30 money has already come in and we were hoping that that would take care of the bulk," Terlaje told Mansapit-Shimizu during a DRT oversight hearing Thursday.

Terlaje added that deadlines were extended this year due to COVID-19.

While DRT processes the returns, the Department of Administration issues the payments.

A large portion of refunds are traditionally paid out in April because that's when tax collections come in to pay refunds, DOA Director Edward Birn said in May. Earlier this year, the Leon Guerrero administration implemented a five-point program aimed at temporarily assisting local businesses, called the TEAM Guam plan.

Part of the program allowed deferral of up to 40% of business privilege taxes up to three months. This meant BPT due in April, May and June would be due in July, August and September.

"They've paid up to May, so they've covered the April filings but I know we extended the filings up to July, so I'm just curious," Terlaje said.

Thursday also marked the deadline to apply and submit documents for the Ayuda I Mangafa Help for Families Program, a $10 million program intended to assist families with young adults, students and individuals with disabilities over the age of 16 who are claimed as dependents. Families with these dependents were overlooked by the CARES Act and did not receive the economic impact payment for these dependents.

As of Nov. 9, DRT had received 1,147 applications and had processed 305 payments as of Oct. 30, totaling $172,500.

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