Treasury begins reconciliation of stimulus — now at $30+ million
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — With the release last Friday of the second round of the federally funded Economic Impact Payments (EIP), or stimulus checks, the ASG Tax Office will begin preliminary reconciliation of all EIP disbursements in compliance with the American Samoa Implementation Plan, says ASG Deputy Treasurer for Revenue, Keith Gebauer.
And ASG Treasury is looking at possible release of a third round of EIP checks before the end of July, following the extended tax year 2019 tax filing deadline.
ASG Treasury released on May 23rd and again last Friday, stimulus checks through the mail, providing just over $30 million in new money boosting the local economy with recipients of EIP checks purchasing a wide-range of goods including new appliances
Asked what the next step is for ASG Treasury/ Tax Office, Gebauer told Samoa News yesterday that between the second release of EIP checks on June 5th and the extended tax filing deadline of July 15th, the Tax Office will continue to process 2019 tax filings, making every effort to correct any 2019 and 2018 tax filings in error status and correct any errors as presented by EIP recipients. For example — incorrect EIP check amounts.
The Tax Office will also begin its “reconciliation review of all issued EIP checks as mandated by our Implementation plan approved” by the US Treasury Department, he said.
According to the deputy treasurer, the Tax Office, on behalf of ASG, “has an obligation to ensure all EIP funding is distributed to eligible EIP recipients and any erroneously issued EIP checks are returned to the Tax Office or collected from the recipients.”
Asked if there will be a third round of stimulus check distribution, Gebauer responded, “Our goal is to have a third EIP release towards the end of July to address the issues described above.”
He points out that ASG Treasury “may release a special release” this Friday, June 12th “to correct an error uncovered” on June 5th.
“The error resulted in some 2019 tax filers’ dependents not being included in the second release,” he said, noting that Treasury will issue a statement regarding the special release of EIP checks “pending a few logistical hurdles.”
Asked if there are sufficient funds to cover a possible third EIP check distribution, he explained that American Samoa was awarded $32.7 million as its “advance” estimate for EIP funding and this amount was approved on April 14th.
Thus far, the first-two EIP releases — on May 23rd and June 5th — totaled just over $30 million with approximately, $2.7 million remaining available and ASG Treasury can request to draw down EIP funds as needed.
“The approved ‘advance’ estimate amount is exactly that, our best estimate, however, should we need additional funds, there is an avenue for ASG to request the additional funds,” he explained.
Gebauer notes that ASG appreciates the general public’s patience as “we are working as quickly as possible to process the EIP funds with strict adherence to our implementation guidelines.”
“For any errors or mistakes on our part, we apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused,” he said. “As you can imagine, we are extremely busy and ask for your continued patience and support through this process,” he said.
For any questions the general public may have regarding the CARES Act EIP (stimulus) program in general or for their specific circumstances please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Tax Office on the ground floor of the A.P. Lutali Executive Office Building.