The following is statement from Senator Michael F.Q. San Nicolas on Bill 362-32 recently commented on by the Republican Party of Guam:
‘The sitting Republicans issued a statement alluding to $17 million in back property taxes that they claim was taken from education, knowing that these monies are unlikely to ever be collected. These taxes are for property taxes that have not been collected for over 10 years, many of which the Department of Revenue and Taxation no longer has adequate records.
The Federal Government has a statute of limitations that is 10 years. The Legislature recently raised the Business Privilege Tax statute of limitations from 7 years to 10 years. Bill 362-32 passed by the 32nd Guam Legislature seeks to make the same 10 years apply to property taxes. If it’s good enough for the federal government and its tax code, it should be adequate for the local government and our property taxes.
Our manamko’ do not deserve to get a bad bill from Rev and Tax and be expected to produce a receipt that is up to 30 years old. Worst of all, our people should not have their land seized based on these bad records and sold because they don’t have 30 year old receipts. The burden should be on the government to collect and adjudicate within 10 years, similar to every other tax on our island.
Still, the Republicans are urging the Governor to veto the bill saying that is in the interest of fairness. Just because our people have been wronged in the past by harsh and unreasonable expectations doesn’t mean that we should just allow it to continue.
In August of this year Rev & Tax announced that they will be seizing property and moving forward with auctioning it off. As many as 6,000 property owners are affected by unreliable tax rolls that are over 10 years old. Many of these properties are in probate, with no one assigned to pay the tax until the courts have adjudicated that land to the rightful owners. Others are not at all aware that they owe because Rev & Tax has not been publishing these names due to the unreliability of the record. Research indicates that hundreds of property owners are on the hook for strange amounts, such as owing less than a nickel.
To wave around a $17 million figure that is highly questionable as an empty promise to our school system, in order to keep bad practices in force, is a sad game we need to stop if we want to do right for our people.’