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NEWS: Federal cash assistance checks rolling through this week

By Johnnie Rosario

(Tumon, Guam) The federal cash assistance Congressman Michael San Nicolas worked hard to include Guam in, and the Department of Revenue and Taxation worked hard to process, finally will be paid to eligible taxpayers, starting today.

Director of Revenue and Taxation Dafne Shimizu announced her agency processed 20,000 economic impact payments (EIP) over the weekend. The checks, totaling $38.9 million, will be sent to the Department of Administration for final audit and mailing this afternoon.

"Garnishments for child support were made in line with what is required by the CARES Act," the news release from DRT reads.

More checks will be processed. DRT is expected to continue to process large batches of payments for the EIP Program over the next few days.

Payments will be based on validly filed and processed 2019 Guam Individual Income Tax Returns, and if an individual has not filed a 2019 Guam Individual Income Tax Return or if filed and Guam DRT has not processed the individual’s 2019 Guam Individual Income Tax Return at the time of certification of EIP to be paid, but has a validly filed and processed 2018 Guam Individual Income Tax Return, then Guam DRT shall determine based on validly filed and processed 2018 Guam Individual Income Tax Return.

Not all 2019 returns processed

At an oversight hearing conducted by Sen. Therese Terlaje, Ms. Shimizu stated DRT had processed $73 million so far in 2019 tax refund filings. That is about half of anticipated tax filings. It is unclear when all 2019 tax filings will be processed, so that DRT can make federal cash assistance payments based on 2019 filings. However, 2018 filings may be used as the back up filing year to make the federal payments. Among the problems with this deficiency are people who filed in 2019, but not in 2018, and divorced or separated households claiming children as dependents between those two years.

The EIP was authorized and funded by the U.S. Congress in the bipartisan CARES Act. These are the $1,200 per single filer, $2,400 per joint filer, and $500 per child checks to qualified taxpayers.

Congress funded the program on March 27.

Part of the reason for the delay in paying qualified Guam residents was the need to reconcile the federal paychecks against a local advance program Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero issued for residents with 2018 income of less than $10,000.

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