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TAX REFUNDS ON HOLD – STILL, OR AGAIN?

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Dear Source,
Well, I finally hit the wall: the V.I. Bureaucracy Wall. I know, I shouldn't be surprised or upset that I haven't received my 2001 tax refund check. Some people haven't seen them for years. But when I asked around and found that most everyone I asked had received theirs, and since the governor had promised them by the end of October (right before the election), well, I thought, "Great! Things are really turning around, and aren't nearly as bad as everybody says."
A month ago I called the V.I. Internal Revenue Bureau and asked about the status of my return. The lady took my Social Security number, checked my return and let me know that yup, it had been "completed" and it was only waiting for the Finance Department to cut the check. She was even kind enough to let me know how much it was. Well, I could look forward to a decent Christmas! But that was a month ago.
Okay, we've had the election. No check by the end of October. But now it's
Thanksgiving. Maybe Finance doesn't need to follow up on the governor's promise now that the election is over. Maybe they're busy. So I called again. (You always can tell if you got the right number to either IRB or Finance, because it will ring 50 time or more before someone picks it up — they must be really busy! — you know, processing returns, cutting checks.)
So now I'm told that yes, my return had been completed well over a month ago, but Finance has not "called for the checks." So, Finance calls for the checks? ("Hello, this is Finance, could you please send over some tax refund checks?" — I don't think so.)
I think it was the waiting on the phone for someone to answer that finally got me frustrated, even more than not receiving the check. But then, that's really gonna hurt. It's gonna be a blue, blue Christmas without it.
But hey, like the lady who finally answered the phone at Finance told me — "We've got other things to do, like payroll, and vendors to pay, and it all depends on when it's scheduled."
"Who sets the schedule?"
"I don't know," she tells me.
I don't know either. The only thing I do know is that there is a big pile of "completed" returns sitting at IRB, waiting for Finance to "call for the checks." And in the meantime, there's payroll to meet, and vendors to pay. And that's true too.
But tell me, what do they use to pay the payroll, and pay the vendors? Isn't it the taxes we pay? And aren't our refunds the money we overpaid? I don't mind paying my fair share (and I'd mind even less if they spent it wisely), but I do mind the government not giving me the difference back. As promised.
Merry Blue Christmas.
D. Bronsky
St. Thomas
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