Guam governor to appeal tax refunds case to high court

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) - Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo is continuing to challenge a federal court order that requires the U.S. territory to pay tax refunds no later than six months after the tax-filing deadline.

The Pacific Daily News reports that the governor's attorneys filed an emergency application last Tuesday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to continue a stay on the government's mandate to pay the plaintiff's attorney fees.

Calvo's legal team has previously argued that the government of Guam shouldn't be liable for any attorney fees because Guam should be treated as a federal agency collecting taxes.

"The federal court ordered us to pay $1.7 million to the plaintiffs' lawyers based upon a federal law that the U.S. Supreme Court and even the Ninth Circuit previously ruled did not apply to Guam because of our sovereignty," Calvo said in a news release.

Calvo's attorneys have stated their intent to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

The tax code does not set a payment deadline, but requires the payment of annual interest on unpaid refunds. The government of Guam for years has opted to pay the interest. The past four governors, including Calvo, have had to borrow money on the bond market to catch up with deluinquent tax refund payments.

The administration has been resisting requests by the taxpayers; plaintiffs in the case to pay their attorney fees, citing their intention to continue appeal the case.

After losing on appeal to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court earlier this year, the governor had until Dec. 31 to file the petition with the U.S. Supreme Court for possible consideration of the case.

Published: Tue, Dec 29, 2015