CNMI Government processes $42.7 million worth of stimulus checks

(PNC file photo)

CNMI’s Department of Finance (DOF) has announced on Tuesday night, the initial distribution of 27,020 stimulus checks to eligible CNMI residents.

The first batch of checks amounts to $42.76 million.

According to a release from the CNMI Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, so far the CNMI Treasury has already printed 22,306 checks for mailing.

Out of that number, 813 checks will go to Rota ($1.3 million), 715 to Tinian ($1.17 million), and 20,778 to Saipan ($32.12 million).

Eligibility was determined based on 2018 or 2019 tax returns.  The first batch included all eligible recipients processed without error as of Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

Additionally, with the success of the online Stimulus Portal, DOF was able to submit 4,714 ACH direct deposits for taxpayers who submitted valid bank information. The portal will reopen within the week for those that were not processed in the first batch and who would like to submit their information.

A public announcement will be made regarding the reopening of the Stimulus Portal. It will be closed 48 hours prior to the next batch upload. More details on this will be provided later this week.

“Due to the high volume of applications for direct deposit, Finance had to shut down the Stimulus Portal earlier than anticipated, but taxpayers should not be alarmed or worried. The portal will reopen up for direct deposit. If you choose not to do direct deposit, you will receive a paper check in the mail,” said CNMI Secretary of Finance David DLG. Atalig.

Future disbursements will be processed on a weekly basis with expected disbursements on Fridays, beginning May 22.

The CNMI’s Division of Revenue & Taxation (DRT) is working diligently to enter all tax returns as they are received so that these taxpayers will be included in the subsequent stimulus check releases, according to a release from the CNMI Government.

According to DRT Director Tracy B. Norita, eligible recipients are advised to allow for two weeks for the DRT to process the additional round of stimulus checks, as well as delivery of mail by the US Postal Service for those that do not choose direct deposit. A request will be made to the IRS for additional funds. Funds will be transferred upon approval by US Treasury.

Social Security and SSI

Norita also provided clarification regarding Social Security beneficiaries and SSI recipients.

“The US Treasury had made the final decision for all US territories to issue stimulus checks through the local tax office. In discussions with the IRS, we shared our concerns for our most vulnerable citizens and insisted they reconsider, but with no success. In order to get these checks out to our people in the shortest amount of time, we had to concede and accept the terms of the proposed implementation plan. Therefore, Social Security beneficiaries and SSI recipients must file their 2019 income tax to avail of the stimulus,” said Norita.