The Commonwealth government, on the brink of financial collapse, is taking steps to deliver to taxpayers what belongs to them. Among these measures is the demand for income taxes owed to the government.
On Friday in federal court, a tax lien was placed on the assets of former Gov. Ralph Torres’s eldest brother, Vincent Torres. According to the lien, Vincent Torres allegedly failed to pay income taxes every year his brother was the governor. The lien, filed by Richard Santos – Manager of the Collection and Remittance Branch of the Division of Revenue and Taxation, states Vince Torres owes $1,175,096.64 in taxes dating back to the tax period ending December 31, 2014.
According to the lien, Vince Torres’s unpaid tax balance for tax year 2014 is $73,537.68. The tax return for that year would have been filed in 2015, the year Ralph Torres became the governor upon the untimely death of the late Gov. Eloy Inos.
The alleged tax debt leaped to $564,156.23 the following year, followed by successive amounts of alleged unpaid taxes through the tax period ending December 31, 2020.
To place the lien amount into perspective, if those taxes were collected, the Commonwealth government would be able to save the jobs of 60 low-paid government workers. Put another way, the amount would be near enough to cover the deficit Ralph Torres left behind in the governor’s office alone.
According to the document, which also was filed in the Superior Court of the CNMI, “If any person liable to pay any tax neglects or refuses to pay the same after demand, the amount shall be a lien in favor of the CNMI upon all property and rights to property, whether real or personal, belonging to such person.”
It is unclear whether Vince Torres previously has contested the assessments.