IRS approves Guam’s COVID-19 relief funding request

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Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has announced that the IRS has approved Guam’s estimation for Economic Impact Payments to be paid out in the amount of $134.8 million.

In a letter to Speaker Tina Muna Barnes, the governor said this approval is one of the first steps in getting the one-time coronavirus economic payments promised by the White House through the CARES Act.

Leon Guerrero said the Department of Revenue & Taxation Director, Dafne Shimizu, is now working on the next steps with IRS to finalize a plan. That will involve the IRS reviewing Guam’s Economic Impact Payment Implementation Plan (GEIPIP), followed by approval from the U.S. Treasury.

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These Economic Impact Payments, says the Governor, are expected in as early as two weeks after the final plan from DRT is approved. Leon Guerrero emphasized that the two-week timeline is contingent on the speed of the IRS approving Guam’s plan.

Additionally, to help the lowest income earners on Guam, the Governor said she is directing Rev & Tax to process and release over $11 million in local funding to pay for the first batch of Economic Impact Payments.

This amount will cover around 6,800 filed tax returns, whose adjusted gross income was $10,000 or less in 2018. The Governor said that would help the island’s most vulnerable people, paying around 10,000 individuals and children. This batch of expedited payments should be issued next week, according to Leon Guerrero’s letter.

The governor says with economic impact payment funds from the federal government so close to fruition, $11 million is the maximum amount of local funds she will utilize for any advanced payments.

On the same day the Legislature met for an emergency session on appropriating local funds to help residents affected by the COVID-19 economic impacts, the Governor made it clear in her letter that besides the $11 million she’s availed of, “no other local funds are available for programs that do not have the promised of replenishment from federal sources and programs.”

Leon Guerrero said she authorized the $11 million knowing the economic impact payments are soon on their way to refill the coffers the money was borrowed from.

The governor said any more local money appropriated could compromise the government’s ability to respond to COVID-19.

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