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Treasury explains “good standing” when it comes to stimulus payments

ASG Deputy Treasurer for Revenue, Keith Gebauer
ANZ and TBAS will both be open Saturday for check cashing

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — ASG Deputy Treasurer for Revenue, Keith Gebauer has provided a “clarification” on what  “good standing” is — as used in a statement issued Tuesday by ASG Treasurer Ueligitone Tonumaipe’a regarding the release of the first round of the Economic Impact Payments (EIP) — better known as stimulus checks — totaling more than $20 million for local qualified tax payers.

Tonumaipe’a explained that the first round of EIP checks will cover all 2019 tax filing’s “in good standing” with total disbursement of about $23.7 million — covering 930 tax payers and their qualified dependents who filed their 2019 tax filing up to May 13, 2020.

Samoa News reported yesterday that Tonumaipe’a didn’t explain in the statement what “in good standing” means nor was there any further explanation from ASG Treasury Department and if this is required by the federal government.

Responding to the Samoa News story, Gebauer yesterday provided “some clarification” on the “good standing” part of the press statement, saying that "Good Standing" simply refers to 2019 tax filing that has been completed and processed without any issues or flagged in error status.

Common examples of tax filing in error status includes — incorrect social security number, dependents already claimed on another tax return filing, missing signature or required documentation.

“A taxpayer can be in "good standing" and still have a tax liability or be owed a tax refund,” he said, adding that the “vast majority of tax filings placed in error status are easily resolved, however the taxpayer must visit our Tax Office to make any corrections.”

Additionally the same criteria is being applied to the 2018 tax filings currently under review. “I hope that helps to clear up any confusion,” he added.

According to Tonumaipe’a, the first round of distribution for stimulus checks will be in the mail this Friday and available for pick up at mailboxes on Saturday. Any EIP recipient without an active mailbox is asked to inquire with Treasury’s Disbursing Office at 633-4155 by Tuesday, May 26.

Already there are questions from the community as to whether ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank and Territorial Bank of American Samoa will be open on Saturday to cash the stimulus checks. ANZ said the Tafuna branch — both the lobby and drive-thru — is open Saturday from 9a.m. to 1p.m.

For TBAS, both branches — Utulei and Tafuna — will open from 8:30a.m. to 1:30p.m to accommodate the stimulus and tax refund checks and notices have already been posted at both locations, says TBAS officials.

Meanwhile, stimulus check recipients are reminded by ASG Treasury that this is a “onetime payment” and a notice — dated May 15th —  is enclosed with the stimulus check on “immediate” steps to be taken if you’ve received an EIP for a second time (referring to a stimulus check from the US Treasury Department).

The second notice — also dated Apr. 15th — is from the White House signed by US President Donald Trump indicating the arrival of your stimulus check — which comes under provisions of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“We hope this payment provides meaningful support to you,” Trump wrote. “America’s drive, determination, innovation and sheer will power have conquered every previous challenge — and they will conquer this one too.”