Vice Speaker Disappointed But Not Surprised About Tax Refund Balance

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Vice Speaker BJ Cruz says he’s consistently warned BBMR and DOA that funds are supposed to be deposited into the Tax Refund Trust account by law.

Guam – Vice Speaker BJ Cruz says he’s disappointed but not surprised that there’s practically no money in the Tax Refund Reserve account that’s meant to pay out tax refunds.

 

The current balance is $235.35. What should be in there, according to Cruz’s office, is $21.1 million, based on calculations for withholding tax.

So far, Department of Rev and Tax Director John Camacho says they’ve already processed about $17 million in refunds, of which $2 million is for prior year returns.

Cruz points out that this also happened last year. In fact, around this time last year, Senator Michael San Nicolas held the nomination packet of Tony Blaz as the Department of Administration director until deposits were made into the tax refund trust account.

While the first batch of refunds went out in March last year, the majority of the refunds went out in October, just in time to meet a federal court ordered deadline.

Because of a cash crunch, the administration was forced to use Section 30 money meant for this fiscal year.

“I’m really disappointed because since last year at all the oversight hearings, I’ve been reminding BBMR [Bureau of Budget and Management Research] and DOA that the law requires that they put into the trust account–28.6 percent of whatever’s collected in withholding and it’s obvious that we’ve not been making those deposits. As a consequence we have 14,000 people that have already filed their tax returns and about 4,000 who have already been cleared without error and they should be getting their tax refund but there’s no money in the account to make that payment,” says Cruz.

Calls and messages to the Department of Administration to inquire about the tax refund trust account balance were not returned as of news time.