Five Tips for a Smooth Move to Guam
By Tim Peterson
Get on the road
The local Department of transportation or DOT is part of a government office located in Barrigada. The Revenue and Taxation building houses many of the government agencies that a new resident would need to visit, such as vehicle registration, drivers licenses, business licenses, and of course, Gross Receipts Tax.
Convenience is all in the timing of the visit to Rev and Tax. Mondays and Tuesdays are generally better and lines are shorter after 1 p.m. Avoid Rev and Tax in June as all licensed businesses renew by the end of the month. Driver’s license renewal on birthdates generates a regular flow of people traffic into the single-file service corridor. In June however, business owners come with renewals and generate traffic that overfills these tight quarters.
Like states in the U.S., surrendering the previous drivers license card is required. The form for applying for a driver’s license on Guam can be found online at Revenue & Taxation. However, explanation of the application process, steps, and a list of requirements is undocumented online. There is one location on island for this business and personnel at Rev and Tax are pleasantly helpful directing visitors to the next step along the way.
Be your own boss
Guam’s laws require all businesses operating in the territory to pay a privilege to operate tax, called Gross Receipts Tax. GRT can be reported online at www.guamtax.com. Acquiring a business license requires that GRT be reported each month on the twentieth for the preceding month. As of August 2011, an exemption on the first $40,000 of revenue within the first year of operation is in effect. Details of requirements for starting a licensed business can be found online at Revenue & Taxation. The Revenue & Taxation building houses many of the government agencies that a new resident needs. Mondays and Tuesdays are generally better and lines are shorter after 1 p.m. Avoid Rev & Tax at the end of the month and on the twentieth.
Business Licenses are inexpensive and reporting is made simple online and in person. However, the multi-step process of getting approvals can be daunting. Depending on the type of license, approvals from the fire department and the office of land management may be required. Explanation of the application process, steps, and a list of documents to have in your possession are undocumented online. The helpful clerks at the various windows are more than happy to direct visitors along the way though.
The One Stop Center located at the Office of Land Management is usually only manned by one person from Rev & Tax, so call ahead to be sure someone is there to service you. You will be sent there after you apply for a new business license at Rev & Tax. However, renewal of licenses must be done at the Rev & Tax building.
It is less expensive to have documents notarized outside Rev & Tax. Mail stores and banks usually have a notary. Notarization is required if changing a business name on your business license. As of July 2012, the fee was $25 to do so. Rev & Tax charges at 4.25% fee to pay with a credit card.
Power to be cool
The Guam Power Authority generates power across the island, making necessities of everyday life like air-conditioning and laundry possible. Application for a new account can be found online at Guam Power Authority. Fortunately the GPA website well documents the steps for shut-off and start-up of electric power to Guam residents.
An authorization for power startup from the owner of tenements and apartments should be included in new leases. With an authorization paper a new customer can establish an account with fewer visits to the GPA office. A security deposit is required from new residents of Guam. First-time customers that can supply another reference of credit are eligible for a waiver of the security deposit. A waiver of deposit is explained online at Guam Power Authority. Any customer applying for residential service who has not established prior credit with the Authority, may obtain service without deposit upon the establishment of credit of another customer as provided under the Service Rules and Regulations Section 20210.10, A, 2.
You’ve got mail
The U.S. Postal Service provides reliable mail delivery to residents of Guam. There are several post offices located throughout the island. Delivery to some locations is limited so the post office box is very popular. As an alternative, there is the PMB or personal mail box offered by postal stores. Some post retailers offer other services like printing, copying, and binding in the same location. Rural boxes are available in clusters for residents who do not receive delivered mail to the home. Getting a box is not documented online. Requesting a rural box that is free requires contacting the route manager and identifying the address of the cluster of boxes as well as verifying the non-delivery address.
Catch the wave of reasonable prices Internet surfing
Guam is home to several Internet providers, however, Stateside providers don’t offer service here. Choose from local land line phone companies or Internet and cell-only providers. Packaging the bundle together with cable can be less expensive than parting theses services out from separate companies. Watching closely for when providers offer package deals can prove to be cost effective. Local Internet providers, MCV, IT&E, and GTA, can be found online.