$40 million in uncollected, abandoned property taxes | Guam News
A draft audit report shows that $40.8 million in property taxes were considered ‘lost revenue’ because the Guam government failed to collect overdue taxes and decided to waive collection of half the amount.
The draft audit report, dated earlier this month, which becomes final when the Department of Revenue and Taxes submits its response, shows that $40.8 million in property taxes were considered “losses of income”.
Of this amount, $19.5 million in property taxes were not collected over four years, until the 2016 tax year.
And for the top 50 delinquent taxpayers alone, unpaid property taxes amounted to $6.7 million, according to the draft audit report. Some of these taxpayers are consistently late in paying property taxes, but there have been no significant collection efforts because the department has no collection staff, the audit project says.
The audit also shows that there are “John Doe” properties in Guam, which means Rev and Tax doesn’t even know who owns certain parcels, so the department doesn’t know where to send the tax bill.
“Without knowing the names of the owners, (Rev and Tax) is unable to collect taxes on these properties,” the audit project says.
The audit also found that some condominium owners were not taxed at all because government agencies did not share information as condominium buildings were being developed and completed.
A slew of property tax exemptions – for primary homeowners, senior homeowners, religious entities and farms – and tax abatements also led the local government to decide to waive $21.3 million in property taxes over the same audited four-year period.
The governor’s office announced Monday the creation of a “tax strike team.” The team, which will be chaired by Deputy Director of the Department of Administration Vince Arriola, will focus on identifying pain points in revenue collection and putting systems in place that will speed up collections, the official said. ‘administration.
“I have tasked the team to identify potential leak areas and put systems in place that will prevent this, while expediting collections,” Gov. Eddie Calvo said.
The team was tasked with looking at major sources of revenue such as use tax, tobacco tax, lodging tax, and property tax.
In response to the tax strike team’s announcement, gubernatorial candidate Lou Leon Guerrero’s campaign released a statement saying the administration is “finally doing what it should have been doing for the past seven years. “.
“The problem is he only got half the answer and he’s seven years behind,” said Leon Guerrero’s campaign chairman Francis Santos, referring to Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio, also running for governor.