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Update: Local tax refund checks expected in the mail on Monday

Pago Pago USPS sign

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The next round of tax refunds — for those who filed and qualify for it — is expected to be in the mail today, Monday, says ASG Treasurer Ueligitone Tonumaipe’a, who encouraged those who have not filed tax returns for 2019 to do so as soon as possible as it will be used for eligibility determination for federal coronavirus relief benefits.

He also issued a warning to those who cash other people’s tax refund checks — they will be fully prosecuted in accordance with the law.

Tonumaipe’a had announced last month that ASG Treasury, in support of the governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration, which bans large public gatherings, would no longer disburse tax refund checks at the A.P. Lutali Executive Office Building/

Instead tax refund checks would be mailed to taxpayer's mailings addresses as listed on their tax filings.

In a statement last Thursday, Tonumaipe’a explained that tax refund checks — for batches #6 and #7 — initially planned to be in the mail by Apr. 3rd, last Friday, “but due to some logistical difficulties” checks were delivered that day to the US Postal Service and be made available in the mail today, Apr. 6th.

Taxpayers who filed between Jan. 30 to Feb. 2 will receive their checks in the mail, according to the Treasurer.

For those with general delivery as mailing addresses and those without mailing addresses, checks will be “distributed by appointment only” by Treasury’s Disbursing Office in order to avoid large gatherings and enforce social distancing requirements.

The Disbursing Office will contact the individual to schedule a time to pick up refund checks. If there is no phone contact on records for the tax filer, please call Disbursing at 633-4155 for an appointment. Have your tax return copy on hand when calling to verify your identity.

Today’s tax refunds total more than $1.89 million — with $746,068 for local refunds and over $1.14 million for the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) funded by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

With this round of refund checks that brings a total of more than $4.53 million issued to date — with just over $3 million in ACTC and more than $1.53 million for local — which is a boost to the local economy.

If a tax filer is expecting to receive tax refund on this tax run and has any concerns regarding your mailing address listed on your tax filing please contact the Tax Office at 633-4181.

“As many families may use a single mail box, please note that any willful act to cash or use a tax refund check issued to another tax payer will be subject to the full extent of the law,” Tonumaipe’a warned.  “If you receive a tax refund check in error, please return the refund check to the Post Office or to the Department of Treasury Tax Office.”

Finally, he encouraged “all taxpayers who have not filed their 2019 tax returns, and are expecting tax refunds to file as soon as possible. These filings will also be used as the basis to determine eligibility for the stimulus funding included under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.

He said the ASG Treasury would issue more guidance and clarification of this matter in the near future.

ASG Treasury has already extended the 2019 tax filing deadline from Apr. 15th to July 15th. (See Samoa News edition Mar. 31st for details.)