Mariana delegations owe US$7m in casino tax

IPI paid about US$120m in fees over six years.
IPI paid about US$120m in fees over six years.

The island of Rota is requesting the same flexibility on funds paid by IPI as other islands have had.

Northern Mariana Islands.- Three delegations from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) owe the country’s general fund over US$7.16 million in taxes paid by casino operators.  

Over a six-year period from 2014 to 2019, Imperial Pacific International (IPI) paid the CNMI a total of US$120 million in annual casino license fees. 

The Department of Finance says the delegations of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, now owe US$7.16 million to the islands’ general fund. 

The numbers were revealed to the Saipan Tribune by Rota senator Paul A. Manglona. He says that it appears that in the fifth year of the period, the annual license fee funding – US$11 million from Saipan and US$2 million each for Rota and Tinian – was never allotted to the respective delegations. 

Under the senator’s calculations, Rota owes US$274,032 to the general fund, Tinian US$2.08m and Saipan US$4.8m. He is requesting that the delegation receives the same flexibility to allocate funds to medical necessities amid the Covid-19 pandemic as other delegations had regarding funds paid by the casino operator.  

In July, Manglona led a Senate investigation over the distribution of the funds paid by IPI, which is obligated to pay a US$15 million annual fee for its casino licence. He insists the finance secretary has yet to remit Rota’s share of the casino licence fees from prior years. 

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IPI saipan taxes