Imperial Pacific International (IPI), a Saipan casino operator, has been in the wrong books of the government for failing to comply with its tax requirements. Rumors have been that the company was not as committed to resolving its tax issue. However, with the new developments, IPI’s management team is willing to snatch the company name from the list of defaulters.
Local media houses announced on Monday that IPI had finally reached an agreement with the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI).
Under the new deal, IPI is to pay its outstanding business gross revenue tax (BGRT) of $18.2 million before the end of June.
Already, IPI has transferred $10 million of the total amount it owes to the government. Imperial Pacific has promised to pay the rest of the money by the end of March. IPI has a unique gaming license in that it is not required to pay tax on its gaming revenue. Its license only requires it to pay tax on its business gross revenue, pay an annual license fee as well as make contributions to the community chest funds.
Last summer, politicians learned that the IPI had paid only $41,000 in BGRT down from $43.6 million the previous year. Since then, the government has been pushing Imperial Pacific to clear its outstanding taxes to no avail. According to a report by CalvinAyre.com, the government initially gave a report pointing out that, the IPI owes $30 million in outstanding BGRT.
IPI has vehemently denied this, saying it is owed unspecified credits by the government, due to the fact that it has been overpaying its BGRT in previous years. IPI is also being accused of being behind its contribution to the community chest fund. Opposition politicians claim it currently owes $37 million in arrears to this fund, but they are yet to present a documented proof on that.
Other than brewing trouble with the local authorities, it seems IPI has been seeking trouble with international legal bodies as well. The Commonwealth Casino Commission is one such body. In recent years, the commission has not been happy with the way IPI has been running its business.
It wishes to investigate IPI, but it has limitations on how far behind it can go with the investigations. Therefore, it has been supporting pending legislation that will not only grant the commission greater powers but will also allow it to investigate IPI of its transgressions from as far as 36 months ago. Currently, the law only allows for investigations to go as far as six months behind.
Still, IPI is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. IPI has several accusations being directed towards it including money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe CNMI so as to gain political favors from the body. Last week, Ralph Tores issued a public statement denying the accusations. He said he has never received any money from IPI so as to grant them political favors.