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Tax refunds released, Gov warns of illegal filing

The Treasury Department released a second batch of tax refunds, this week, totaling $655,000, $250,000 for local and $405,000 for the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), which is funded by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

The total to date of tax refunds released, is $1.12 million - about $429,000 in local and $696,000 for ACTC.

“This is new money for our community to help families,” said Tax Office manager Melvin Joseph.

Meanwhile, Gov. Togiola Tulafono said on his weekend radio program he had been asked by local and federal officials to remind local residents - at the start of the tax filing season - they cannot file in the U.S. because doing so is “defrauding” the federal government and it is illegal.

Togiola said some local residents are continuing to file their tax returns illegally, in a fraudulent effort to get more money through the U.S. child tax credit and the federal Earned Income Credit (EIC) - which is a federal credit that American Samoa tax payers are not qualified to receive. He urged residents to do the right thing and file locally.

According to the governor, this bad habit of filing off island to get a huge refund has continued to occur every tax year but this time around, “there is much enforcement in place now by the federal government.” He said the federal government is out to enforce federal laws and is monitoring all filings using W2 forms from American Samoa.