Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Department of the Treasury
Posted: May 27, 2020

The Department of the Treasury. Photo: ,Mattia Panciroli

With tribes experiencing difficulties in submitting additional data for the $8 billion in coronavirus relief promised to them two months ago, the Department of the Treasury is giving them more time to do so.

“The deadline for electronic submissions to be accepted has been extended until 12:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time on Friday, May 29, 2020,” Treasury states on its CARES Act website.

The deadline had been 11:59:59pm Alaska time on May 26. But a vast majority tribes, for various reasons, hadn’t yet submitted employment and expenditure information with just hours before the window was due to close, according to a declaration submitted in federal court.

“Several Tribes have reported the following difficulties in completing these submissions: (a) a storm in Alaska over the weekend resulted in widespread power outages throughout the State; and (b) the closure of offices as a result of COVID-19 has made it difficult for Tribes to access financial statements and tax forms that are saved on office computers,” Daniel Kowalski, the Counselor to Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, told a federal judge on May 26.

“Tribes have reported these difficulties via email,” Kowalski said.

The CARES Act authorized an $8 billion coronavirus relief fund for tribal governments. The law required Treasury to distribute the money “not less than 30 days” after its enactment but that deadline went without action.

On May 5, Treasury announced an initial distribution of $4.8 billion, or 60 percent of the fund. The payments were based on population data which tribes had not known about, as they were asked to submit enrollment data back in April.

Late in the evening on May 20, Treasury asked tribes to submit additional employment and expenditure information, even though they had provided similar data last month. The department intends to use the information to determine how to distribute the remaining $3.2 billion of the coronavirus relief fund.

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