San Agustin: Bill 166 not a new tax

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Senator Joe S. San Agustin, appropriations chairman, said no budget is perfect and acknowledged that his Bill 186-35 COR is just a starting point for discussion.

Senator Joe S. San Agustin has issued clarifications to his recently introduced Bill 166-35, which includes a proposal to add the United States Postal Service to the ports of entry defined under Guam’s Use Tax Law.

First and foremost, San Agustin said, is that Bill 166 is not a new tax because the use tax has been on Guam’s books since the 1950s.

The use tax is assessed on goods imported to Guam via the port or airport, and previous administrations have determined it can be applied to private courier services.

San Agustin said Bill 166 only adds Guam’s most used port of entry for goods — the USPS. “When the original law was written, the authors could not have foreseen the massive influx of goods from online shopping,” the senator said.

The second point that the senator wants to stress is that not all packages will be taxed and the use tax is applicable only to imported goods valued at $1,000 or more.

Moreover, the tax is not cumulative, so low-value goods brought in over time are not subject to use tax and if you already paid an online sales tax, the receipt would be proof the item is exempt from use tax.

“I don’t want the people of Guam to pay more than they should. Most people will never have to pay this tax since the value of an average parcel doesn’t exceed $1,000. I understand the people’s concerns. The local market is too expensive, and all of us turn to online shopping to save money. If businesses on Guam don’t reduce prices, they can never compete with online sales,” San Agustin said.

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