Refunds for tax filings from Jan. 4-25 available as of today

fili@samoanews.com

The first two batches of tax refunds totaling more than $1 million for tax year 2016 are scheduled to be released today by the Treasury Department and this is great news for the local workforce, especially cannery workers, who filed early and have been waiting for when the checks will be released.

Meanwhile, ASG Treasurer Uelinitone Tonumaipe’a has confirmed the name of the department’s new deputy director as well as his duties. There are now two deputies for the department.

TAX REFUNDS

In a brief statement late Wednesday afternoon, Tonumaipe’a said all tax filings as of Jan. 4 to 25 are included in the first and second batch of tax refund checks, which are to be released today, Friday, Mar. 17.

Of total refunds checks of just over $1.38 million — $913,146 is for the Additional Child Tax Credit, which is funded by the federal government; and $472,442 is from local taxes.

To assist with tracking refunds, Tonumaipe’a reminds taxpayers to “always keep in mind your filing date, that is when and how the batches or tax refunds are disbursed.” And he thanked the public for their patience.

The release of refund checks comes at a time when many taxpayers, who filed in January and are expecting refunds, have been calling the Tax Office, or Disbursing Division, asking when the refund checks will be released. Taxpayers also have the habit of calling the news media to complain about the refund delay.

Their complaints stem from reports that senior ASG officials, with close ties to the Administration received their refund checks last month, after claiming “fa’alavelave”.

NEW DEPUTY DIRECTOR

Responding to a question during his Senate confirmation hearing early last month, Tonumaipe’a confirmed that his department now has two deputy directors — deputy of operations, which includes accounts payable and general accounting; and deputy of revenue, which includes Customs and Tax Office. At the time, he didn’t identify the names of the deputies.

Samoa News reported in late January that former Criminal Justice Planning Agency Director, Keith Gebauer, is now Deputy for Revenue and Deputy for Operations is Tina Va’a (who had been the only deputy director for sometime.)

In the Treasury Department’s fiscal year 2017 first quarter performance report —covering the period of Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016, Tonumaipe’a explained that the most recent realignment of the department’s organizational structure and functions now includes a revenue and financial aspect, and that Gebauer is the new deputy director designated to head up the revenue generating functions of Treasury.

“Mr. Gebauer will focus primarily on ensuring the integrity of our revenue is being enforced across all cash collection points of the government,” he said and noted that collaborative efforts by Va’a and Gebauer “will provide the support needed to address both our financial and revenue oversight.”

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