$5.6M in tax refunds to be mailed

REFUNDS: Department of Revenue and Taxation income tax specialists Tee Sablan and Becky Gamboa work at the Income Tax and Processing Branch counter Monday, Jan. 11, in Barrigada. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

About $31.61 million in tax refunds for tax year 2019 and earlier are owed to 9,814 Guam taxpayers as the new tax filing season is about to start and a new Economic Impact Payment program is to be rolled out.

It’s unclear how much of an impact the delay from 2020 will have on tax refunds that are to be paid to taxpayers this year.

Even as the Department of Revenue and Taxation is working on these issues, the current pandemic has added another challenge.

The agency closed its doors to the public Thursday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. The Department of Public Health and Social Services is testing employees on Saturday. It’s not known when appointments for various services will resume, officials said.

“Even outside of the public health emergency it has been challenging for our team to manage all mandates. We were able to complete processing of all income tax returns filed through Dec. 31, 2020, and are now preparing material to test the 2020 programs and reviewing (the new Economic Impact Payment) program,” DRT told The Guam Daily Post.

Rev and Tax’s latest report doesn’t include an estimated dollar amount for the tax returns that have been received but haven’t been processed as of Jan. 4. Roughly 2,000 tax returns haven't been processed yet.

When asked when they plan to complete the 2019 tax season, DRT officials responded: “DRT works to ensure compliance with the permanent injunction and we will continue to do so.”

The government of Guam has six months from either the tax filing deadline or the date the return was filed, whichever comes later, to pay tax refunds, according to a 2013 court order.

Last year, the novel coronavirus outbreak pushed back the tax filing deadline to Oct. 15, 2020. So for any returns filed by Oct. 15, 2020, GovGuam has until April to send tax refunds.

Of the $31.61 million owed to Guamanians:

• $26.23 million is for tax year 2019.

• $2.55 million is for tax year 2018.

• $1.24 million for tax year 2017.

• $620,000 for tax year 2016.

• $300,000 for tax year 2015.

• Approximately $670,000 is for tax years before 2015.

The latest tax refund report filed for December 2020 shows that more than $119 million was paid to taxpayers for tax year 2019 so far.

In terms of last calendar year, the Department of Revenue and Taxation processed about $147.8 million in tax refunds for taxpayers during 2020, officials reported.

New tax season

Employers have until the end of this month to send W-2s to their employees. Typically, once the forms are sent out, residents rush to file their income tax returns in the hope of getting their tax refunds sooner.

Guam Rev and Tax does not yet have the 1040 form available, officials stated.

“However, we are working on this. There will be the option for taxpayers to file electronically,”  Rev and Tax stated.

“We will provide more information on this as it becomes available.”

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