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GUAM’S OVERDUE TAX REFUNDS READY BY DECEMBER Payments ‘on target’ once bond transaction complete

By Oyaol Ngirairikl HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Nov. 15, 2011) – Mark Dec. 5 on your calendars. That's when the administration hopes to have mailed out most overdue tax refunds.

Fresh from his travel to the mainland, where he met with financial experts and investors, Gov. Eddie Calvo said yesterday the local government's $244 million bond borrowing transaction – mostly for tax refunds – is on target to close in New York on Nov. 15, or Nov. 16 on Guam.

From that point, Henry Taitano, the governor's economic advisor, said legal and financial transactions will take two to three weeks to finalize. Once that's done, the money will transfer to GovGuam accounts and then "it will only be a matter of administrative processing for the checks to be mailed out."

Marie Benito, Department of Revenue and Taxation deputy director, said individuals who have filed tax returns for tax year 2010 and prior, and haven't received a letter noting problems with the tax return that was filed, can expect a refund if the bond is sold according to plan.

Calvo said considering the government's "stellar ratings" assessments from credit rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor's, the government could see interest rates lower than 5.5 percent.

In September, local law authorized the governor to borrow up to $343.7 million to pay tax refunds and other GovGuam debt, in a series of two or more bonds.

Under the law, the governor is allowed to borrow up to $244 million in the first borrowing. The first borrowing is expected to cover $198 million in tax refunds, and $20 million in cost-of-living-allowance settlements for GovGuam retirees.

Once the tax refunds are paid, specifically for tax years including 2009 and 2010, local officials are expecting federal reimbursement of the Make Work Pay tax credit of up to $20 million.

"That money will be used to pay additional tax refunds owed to the people of Guam," Benito said.

Juanete Cruz, 21, of Dededo stopped by the Department of Revenue and Taxation yesterday to ask about her tax refunds. She said she's waiting on refunds from 2008 and 2010.

Cruz was told her refund is being processed. "They just said to wait patiently," she said.

Cruz plans to spend her refund money on her two children's birthdays, for parties and for presents. Their birthdays are in December and January. Cruz said she's not sure if she will get her refund soon.

"They always say it's going to come ... so we'll see," she said. "It's a big 'We'll see.'"

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