Treasurer: No tax refund checks issued yet — going on 4 months
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — ASG Treasurer, Ueligitone Tonumaipe’a told the House last week that tax refund checks still haven't been issued because they are still negotiating the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
During a hearing on the bill to increase the petroleum storage fee earlier last week, Vice Speaker Fetu Fetui Jr asked the Treasurer why tax refunds have not been paid.
Fetu said it’s going on 4 months and taxpayers are still waiting for their tax refunds. He asked about local refunds and pressed if any refund checks have been issued at all.
Tonumaipea said no.
Fetu laughed and asked Tonumaipea if he was telling the truth. The treasurer replied, “To be honest with you, there have been no tax refunds issued.”
Fetu said, “I hope you’re telling me the truth director. God bless you.”
A senior official at the Tax Office told Samoa News last week that the recent federal shutdown had caused a delay in the IRS operations and this has in turn delayed the transfer of funds for the ACTC.
REGULATORY ACT FOR MONEY SERVICES BUSINESSES RE-INTRODUCED
An administration bill to regulate money transfer businesses, which was first introduced during the previous legislature — but sat in committee — has been re-introduced.
The preamble of the Money Services Business Regulatory Act notes that “Due to the large amount of monies handled by these types of businesses, regulatory oversight is needed to ensure monies are not handled fraudulently.
“Additionally, proper regulation is needed to enable money service businesses to open accounts with local financial institutions when in full compliance with local and federal laws.”
According to the bill, money service businesses include each agent, agency, branch or office within the territory or any person doing business, whether or not on a regular basis, or as an organized business concern, as a money transmitter, or a foreign currency exchanger. Banks are not included.
The bill requires that money transfer businesses obtain a special license from the ASG Office of Financial Institutions, and sets out a litany of information that applicants must provide in their application and conditions they must abide by.
The bill also sets a fee schedule for money transfer businesses, as well as those sending money transfers. It’s $100 to register a money transfer company with the Office of Financial Institutions. They must also pay $1,000 per location and the renewal fee is $1,000 per location. An authorized agent license and renewal is $100. Each money transfer will also be charged. There’s a $5 base fee and $5 for transfers of less than $500. For all transfers over that amount, the fee is 1% of the transfer amount. These fees must be submitted with quarterly reports.
The bill provides that 50% of the fees collected shall be earmarked for the operations of OFI and the balance to be deposited in the ASG General Fund.