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IRB Says Tax Refunds Will Speed Up Once Government Closes on Bonds

The V.I. Internal Revenue Bureau will accelerate its processing of tens of thousands of delayed income tax refunds once the government closes on new bonds currently awaiting legislative authorization, IRB Director Claudette Watson-Anderson said during budget hearings Tuesday.

So far in Fiscal Year 2012, IRB has processed 9,118 income tax refunds totaling $28.5 million. This includes refunds for the 2010 tax year and before, Watson-Anderson said.

As of Aug. 31, the inventory of unpaid refunds totaled $63 million payable to 27,735 taxpayers, she said. Of this, $46 million is due to 20,557 taxpayers for 2011; $13 million to 6,490 taxpayers for 2010; and $4 million to 688 taxpayers for all other previous tax years, she said.

If and when bond proceeds from bonds whose legislative authorization is currently awaiting approval from the Senate arrive, "the payment of refunds will be accelerated and will continue until the budgeted amount for Fiscal Year 2012 of $95 million is fully expended," she said. IRB is anticipating the funds around Sept. 13, she said.

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Meanwhile government revenue collections by IRB for FY11 were $610 million, of which $581 million was to the General Fund. As of Aug. 31, partial FY12 collections totaled $511 million.

All bureau collection reports are available at the IRB website, www.viirb.com, a few days after the end of each month, Watson-Anderson said.

IRB was before the Senate to discuss its recommended FY13 budget of $10.1 million. Of that, $50,000 is to come from the Casino Revenue Fund and the remainder from the General Fund. That sum represents a slight decrease from the 2012 appropriation of $9.8 million.

Wages and salaries account for $5.9 million of the budget and associated benefits another $2.3 million. The "other services and charges" budget line is projected at $1.5 million and includes professional services and lease agreements. Utilities are projected at $205,000 and supplies consume $85,000 of the budget. IRB also plans to spend $50,000 in capital outlays for computer upgrades.

Senators also heard from Tom Bolt, chair of the V.I. Uniform Law Commission. The group is charged with ensuring that V.I. laws are consistent with those in the rest of the United States and its territories.

Commissions in the various states coordinate in creating draft legislation aimed at creating a harmonious, uniform legal framework for probate law, trade law and other areas of law where states and territories differ from one another.

No votes were taken at the information gathering hearing.

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