ST THOMAS, USVI -- Acting Governor and Commissioner of Finance, Angel Dawson, said that the US Virgin Islands Department of Finance will complete the payment of all income tax refunds submitted for processing by the Bureau of Internal Revenue on Friday.
"This is in keeping with promises that we made to aggressively pay outstanding income tax refunds upon closing the Series 2012 Working Capital Bonds," Dawson said.
"We closed on the sale of these bonds in New York just two weeks ago and, working together with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, we have almost completed the payment of all pending income tax refunds," he continued.
According to figures provided by Dawson, in Fiscal Year 2012 the Department of Finance has processed refund payments for tax years 2010 and prior totaling $38.2 million to approximately 15,500 taxpayers. For 2011, the latest tax year for which refunds are due, the Department of Finance will have processed payments totaling $56.8 million to approximately 23,500 taxpayers.
Altogether, $95 million will have been paid to approximately 39,000 taxpayers in Fiscal Year 2012. Of this amount, $73.9 million was processed in just the last two weeks alone, representing payments to approximately 31,000 taxpayers.
"This is a tremendous amount of money to hit the streets of our territory at one time. And we trust that it will help to stimulate our economy, as residents give a much needed boost to our local merchants," Dawson stated.
He also emphasized that, in his role as Executive Director of the Public Finance Authority, "It is gratifying to see our ongoing efforts to work with the investment community result in the taxpayers of this territory being able to receive their much anticipated income tax refunds".
Governor John de Jongh, who is presently off-island, commended Dawson, BIR director Claudette Watson-Anderson and their respective staffs for working diligently to ensure that all pending income tax refunds were processed and paid before the close of Fiscal Year 2012. He also echoed Dawson's hope that the almost $74 million of income tax refunds paid out in the last two weeks will greatly assist the territory's residents and businesses.
De Jongh noted, however, that according to information received from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, over $30 million of income tax refunds paid in 2012 are attributable to tax credits, such as Earned Income and Childcare, that are contained in the US Internal Revenue Code.
"While these are well-intentioned mechanisms utilized by the federal government to assist families, they amount to unfunded mandates under our Mirror Tax System", de Jongh said.
Dawson also indicated that by Monday, all income tax refund checks processed by the Department of Finance will be in the mail and encouraged persons expecting a check to allow a reasonable period of time for delivery.
Should a check not be received by the end of next week, Dawson encouraged taxpayers to first contact the Bureau of Internal Revenue, as there may be a specific reason that their income tax refund has not yet been processed and transmitted to the Department of Finance for payment.
He also encouraged refund recipients to exercise caution as large amounts of cash circulating in the community become a tempting target for the criminal element.