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ASG to pay stimulus money for local qualified taxpayers & children

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Official residents and taxpayers residing in American Samoa are eligible

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — American Samoa has submitted to the US Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service the territorial implementation plan and estimates for distribution of the federal stimulus money to qualified local residents, says ASG COVID-19 Task Force chairman Iulogologo Joseph Pereira.

Provisions under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, includes stimulus funding for the amount of $1,200 per qualified taxpayer and $500 per eligible child.

US tax payers who filed with the IRS started receiving their stimulus money last week, if they have direct deposit, while paper checks are being mailed out to everyone else. Samoa News also received information that social security retirement recipients, who usually file with the IRS, have already received stimulus payments via direct deposit.

One major question raised by local residents on benefits from the CARES Act, is when those who qualify and filed taxes will receive a stimulus check. Congresswoman Aumua Amata has already announced via several news releases that local residents do qualify.

This same answer was provided by Iulogologo on Monday saying that “local eligible taxpayers qualify, and will receive their stimulus funding” which will come from ASG. He also says that there “may be instances” where a local resident receives their stimulus payment directly from US Treasury “but the vast majority will receive their stimulus check from ASG.”

As to who qualifies, Iulogologo points out that currently official residents and taxpayers residing in American Samoa are eligible for the CARES Act stimulus funding. And this includes US citizens, US nationals and legal alien residents. “Please note, we receive daily updates from our IRS/US Treasurer counterparts that may change the eligibility of recipients,” he said.

The task force chairman also says that American Samoa submitted to IRS/ US Treasury on Apr. 14th the “Territorial implementation plan and estimates to be disbursed” by ASG.

And the federal agency “is reviewing our estimates at this time but we hope to have a final approved estimate by this Friday,” he points out. “In the meantime, the [ASG] Treasury is going through our implementation plan and ensuring all preparations are in place to begin processing as soon as the funds are available.”

He points out that the easiest way he can explain how local residents will get their stimulus checks — is to think of the stimulus funding like the Additional Chid Tax Credit, which is funded by the IRS.

“We submit to the IRS, they review and once approved they wire the funds and we disburse tax refund checks,” he said.  “The difference is this would be like 2 1/2 years of tax refunds disbursed on the same day.”

According to the chairman, ASG doesn’t keep any part of this stimulus check money. He explained that the eligibility to receive the stimulus fund is the same in American Samoa as it is in the US with the same income restrictions and dependent requirements.

Due to “considerable misinformation and confusion” in the community, the ASG Tax office has a public awareness campaign to help answer questions, he said.

Samoa News should point out that the federal stimulus funding guidelines note that 2018 tax returns can be also used, not only 2019 filings.

Meanwhile, the US Treasury and IRS on Monday urged social security and railroad retirement recipients who have qualifying children and did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return to go to the IRS Non-Filer tool by today, Apr. 22nd, and enter basic information to receive the $500 per eligible child added to their automatic $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. (website: for details and link to file the required information.)

The most recent known time that local taxpayers benefited and received federal stimulus checks — processed through ASG — was under federal Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 when American Samoa submitted and US Treasury approved the local stimulus distribution plan and payments.

At the time, the US Treasury provided $20.4 million to American Samoa for the local ASG Treasury to issue “recovery rebates” for eligible tax payers with specific criteria — based on the person’s income.

Also at that time ASG implemented the 2% wage tax, so in fact, local residents did not see any net gain.