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Community Briefs



Another round of tax refund checks were released last Friday by the Treasury Department and more than 8,000 tax payers filed their tax returns by the deadline of Apr. 15.


Run #9 with 585 checks for those who filed up to Feb. 27, totaled $802,841 with $363,372 for local and $439,469 for the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), funded by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, said Tax Office manager Melvin Joseph.


To date, 4,524 refund checks have been issued totaling $6.49 million—with $2.72 million in local and $3.76 million in ACTC.


The close of business on Apr.15 was the last day to file tax returns for 2012 and Joseph says approximately 8,500 were filed by the deadline and about 500 tax payers filed extensions, giving these individuals until mid August to file the actual tax return.


However, filing an extension is not an extension to pay anything owed in taxes but will prevent late filers from having to pay a penalty if any money is owed.




The U.S. State Department’s 2012 Human Rights Practices report has again cited concerns with poor conditions at prisons in Samoa, saying that, that “Prison conditions overall remained below international standards.”


Compiled by the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, was released last Friday covering world countries. For Samoa, the report states that the “principal human rights problems were poor prison conditions and domestic violence against women.” (These are the same issues that have been raised in the past).


Regarding prison conditions, the report cited problems such as overcrowding at the men’s Tafaigata prison and poor ventilation, according to the report, which also states that several prisoners who escaped from Tafaigata Prison on separate occasions last year stated they were motivated to escape to voice complaints to government officials and the press about living conditions and mistreatment by prison guards and police.


For example, last September a 23-year-old prisoner escaped from the prison and claimed to the media that prison guards had beaten him. At year’s end his complaint had not been investigated.


The State Department says that other human rights problems in Samoa included police abuse, accountability of and adherence to the rule of law by village “fonos” (councils of matai), abuse of children, and discrimination against women and non-matai. [the complete report is available at]