Residents of the US territories received their economic stimulus check weeks after those on the mainland

by May 27, 2020Coronavirus, Economy1 comment

In the mainland, stimulus deposits started to be deposited to United States citizens’ bank accounts during the second week of April. Towards the end of April is when stimulus checks started to be mailed. However, there are still US citizens who have not received their checks, in particular, those who live on US territories. Those citizens who live on US territories are expected to receive their stimulus money sometime during the month of May. So the question arises: Why have US citizens who live on US territories received their stimulus money later than US citizens who live on the mainland?

The Explanation boils down to two factors. The first being a lack of data gathering and the second being a lack of communication between the local tax authorities from each US territory and the US Department of the Treasury.

First, a lack of data gathering is due to local treasury departments utilizing different databases to identify taxpayers who filed the local 2018 and 2019 tax return, then having to narrow down who is eligible to receive stimulus money. The use of multiple databases is what caused confusion and overlap in the data, which ultimately slowed down the process since the data had to be sorted.

The second reason for a delay in receiving stimulus money is due to tax authorities from US territories having to put forth a plan to the federal Treasury, specifying how they would distribute the stimulus money to their citizens.

In a recent report from News is my business, their reporters interviewed Secretary Francisco Parés, who is in Puerto Rico’s Treasury Department, and he said the following:

“Today the IRS sent us a series of operational questions that the Treasury Department immediately answered. So far, the IRS estimates they will send the revised plan to the US Treasury later this month for final approval”, he said.

He went on to say, “The IRS continues to evaluate the operational feasibility of our proposal included in the draft plan that we presented to them and that we elaborated upon in the letter sent to Secretary Mnuchin. There are other territories in this same situation, and it’s our priority that this plan required by the CARES Act be approved as soon as possible”.

Therefore, when the US Treasury approves the plan, the local Treasury Department of Puerto Rico “will immediately begin disbursements”.  

Similarly, the other US territories were forced to wait on federal approval of their disbursement plans before sending out the funds to citizens.