Esteves blasts AG for taking her sweet time in responding to request

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Guam – Six months have passed and still no response from the Attorney General’s Office on an opinion being sought regarding the applicability of sales tax to online purchases.

Outgoing freshman Senator Fernando Esteves yesterday sent a letter to retiring AG Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson saying he’s disappointed that she’s let six months lapse without issuing an opinion on the matter.

In June, the senator wanted clarity on a Supreme Court ruling that allowed for states to charge a sales tax from out-of-state or online retailers.

At the time he made the request, Senator Esteves wanted to explore the possibility of applying the law to Guam to ensure taxes are reimbursed to the territory instead of the state where the retailer is based. It was also during the height of a bitter dispute between the Legislature and Adelup over a proposed sales tax which was ultimately defeated in an override. A sun-setting business privilege tax increase, however, did pass.

“I believe that the lack of collaboration or responsiveness on this matter by your organization left the Legislature with fewer options ultimately resulting in undesirable tax increases,” writes Esteves.

He is now demanding proof that the AG’s Office followed its protocol in entertaining requests for legal opinions as well as a copy of its standard operating procedures.

“I implore you, Honorable Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson,” he says, “to take this matter to heart. Our government has raised taxes on our people, meanwhile we are potentially paying millions to the benefit of other states.”

The AG’s Office said it will respond to our request for comment next week.

You can read the letter here.