SOME taxpayers looking forward to long-awaited refunds this weekend might be met with disappointment if payments are owed to certain government of Guam agencies.
For example, taxpayers faced with bills at the Guam Memorial Hospital or owe past-due child support, the awaited income tax refund may be garnished.
In response to Sen. Ben Pangelinan’s question about the garnishment of rebate checks in 2008, an opinion issued by the Attorney General’s Office stated the Department of Revenue and Taxation has the authority to garnish tax refunds for debts owed to agencies that have given DRT notice.
Because Guam mirrors the United States income tax laws, the term “federal agency” equates to a department, agency or instrumentality of Guam. Thus: “When a federal agency has entered into an agreement with the Department of Revenue and Taxation in the tax refund offset program and that it is owed a past-due legally enforceable debt, such agency may refer the past-due legally enforceable debt to the department for collection,” the opinion stated.
Taxpayers who have existing payment plans with government agencies they owe won’t have to worry about getting their refunds withheld – unless they’ve been non-compliant with the payment agreement.
The AG’s letter cites Public Law 29-113, which states if the taxpayer has a current payment arrangement agreement with a government entity, DRT “shall not garnish the income tax refunds.”
However, the law adds, DRT still has the authority to garnish the refunds of any taxpayer not in compliance with the payment arrangement with the government entity.
Further, the law states “the director of any agency who has a memorandum of understanding for the garnishment of income tax refunds ... with the Department of Revenue and Taxation shall forward the names of taxpayers who are not in compliance with their payment arrangement for garnishment of the taxpayer’s income tax refunds.”
It is unclear as to how much may be taken from a tax refund to offset a debt, as the letter does not indicate an amount.
Where to go
More than 90,000 tax refund checks will be available for pickup tomorrow and Saturday at Guam’s three major shopping centers.
Residents whose last names begin with A through F can pick up their checks at the Agana Shopping Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the second floor next to the movie theater.
Taxpayers whose last names begin with G through O can head to the Guam Premier Outlets in Tamuning and pick up their checks from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the entrance near Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant.
Last names that begin with P through Z can pick up their checks at the Micronesia Mall in Dededo from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The distribution site will be in Concourse 4, near Cinnabon and Macy’s Men’s Department.
For taxpayers that have received a loan against their refunds through Personal Finance Center (PFC), they can expect to receive their overpayments by mail, PFC announced.
Overpayments will be mailed to the filed address on Saturday, Dec. 3. If there are any other accommodations, PFC will notify those customers directly. Customers who have a change of address are asked to contact PFC at 647-6820/5.
Meanwhile, banker Coast360 Federal Credit Union yesterday announced they will be providing an “extended avenue of service” by providing residents instant access to their tax refunds, by offering “on-the-spot financial services” at Agana Shopping Center tomorrow and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Non-members can establish membership and access money through immediate issuance of an ATM card,” a Coast360 press release stated. “Coast360 team members will be readily available to service members as they pick up their tax refund checks.”
Department of Administration Director Benita Manglona yesterday announced the distribution of Cost of Living Allowance checks to COLA class recipients at the DRT facility in Barrigada. The location was incorporated to accommodate the manamko’, or elderly, as opposed to having the recipients directed to the shopping centers with the rest of the taxpayers.
The hours for disbursement of COLA checks at DRT will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday.
Those expecting checks are reminded to bring proper forms of identification such as a Guam Driver’s License, a Guam ID or a U.S. passport.
For those picking up checks for another, a signed authorization and a copy of photo identification must be presented. Photocopies of the authorization and a photo ID must be made beforehand, and will be retained by DRT for records.