Finance releases $42.7 million in stimulus checks

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(Office of the Governor) — The Department of Finance is pleased to announce its first distribution of 27,020 stimulus checks, amounting to $42,761,156.83.

The CNMI Treasury has printed 22,306 checks to be mailed, with 813 to Rota ($1,300,862), 715 to Tinian ($1,173,889) and 20,778 to Saipan ($32,129,474).  Eligibility was determined based on 2018 or 2019 tax returns.  The first batch included all eligible recipients processed without error as of Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

Additionally, with the success of the online Stimulus Portal, Finance was able to submit 4,714 Automated Clearing House or ACH direct deposits for taxpayers who submitted valid bank information. The portal will reopen within the week for those that were not processed in the first batch and who would like to submit their information. A public announcement will be made regarding the reopening of the Stimulus Portal. It will be closed 48 hours prior to the next batch upload. More details on this will be provided later this week.

"Due to the high volume of applications for direct deposit, Finance had to shut down the Stimulus Portal earlier than anticipated, but taxpayers should not be alarmed or worried. The portal will reopen up for direct deposit. If you choose not to do direct deposit, you will receive a paper check in the mail,” said Secretary of Finance David DLG Atalig.

Future disbursements will be processed on a weekly basis with expected disbursements on Fridays, beginning on May 22, 2020.

The Division of Revenue & Taxation or DRT is working diligently to enter all tax returns as they are received, so that these taxpayers will be included in the subsequent stimulus check releases.

According to DRT Director Tracy B. Norita, eligible recipients are advised to allow for two weeks for the division to process the additional round of stimulus checks, as well as delivery of mail by the U.S. Postal Service for those that do not choose direct deposit. A request will be made to the IRS for additional funds. Funds will be transferred upon approval by U.S. Treasury.

Director Norita also provided clarification regarding Social Security beneficiaries and SSI recipients.

“The U.S. Treasury had made the final decision for all U.S. territories to issue stimulus checks through the local tax office. In discussions with the IRS, we shared our concerns for our most vulnerable citizens and insisted they reconsider, but with no success. In order to get these checks out to our people in the shortest amount of time, we had to concede and accept the terms of the proposed implementation plan. Therefore, Social Security beneficiaries and SSI recipients must file their 2019 income tax to avail themselves of the stimulus,” said Director Norita.

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