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CNMI Tax Amnesty Program May Need Extension: Inos
Governor says many applications have been sent incomplete

By Emmanuel T. Erediano

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 10, 2014) – The CNMI administration has been receiving requests from many delinquent taxpayers to extend the tax-amnesty program, Gov. Eloy S. Inos disclosed yesterday.

The program that took effect on Dec. 4 expired on Jan. 2.

In an interview, Inos told reporters that the Legislature has to amend the tax-amnesty law or Public Law 18-29 in order to extend the program

The governor said a lot of the applications that have been filed "have been incomplete."

"It is quite an intense documentation. So there are suggestions that we might have to extend the deadline," he said adding that many of the applications for tax amnesty have to be supported by documents.

"There is just not enough time to do it all. What needs to be done is probably extend [the program.]"

Asked how, he said the law needs to be amended.

Because he still does not have the total number of people applying for the amnesty, Inos could not tell how long the extension should be.

In a separate interview, Rep. Tony P. Sablan, IR-Saipan and the author of the tax amnesty law, said he is looking at extending the program for two to three months.

He acknowledged that the taxpayers that the program is trying to help had less than three weeks to get their tax papers in order.

"A lot of those taxpayers asked Revenue and Taxation for more time to get their prior-year tax records together," Sablan said.

Even Rev and Tax, he added, is having a hard time producing returns so it was really hard to meet the deadline.

Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson said the filing of applications for tax amnesty went smoothly but many applicants who had not completed their papers are now asking for an extension.

Rev and Tax, Larson said, is still working on those applications "and it’s our hope that everyone will have complied [with the documentation requirements.]"

Variety learned that two days ago, there were about 300 applicants who were able to file their prior tax returns. But filing of returns or the actual application is just one part of the program.

The applicants still have to go to the collection branch to file a waiver of penalty or interest.

The tax-amnesty law allows delinquent taxpayers to settle their tax debts without having to pay penalties or interest. They can work out a payment plan and their penalties and interest will be waived.

Sablan said he is confident that this will help increase revenue that the government badly needs.

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