“My husband doesn’t earn on the books.”
“I don’t have legal status in the United States and I earn cash money.”
“I don’t have an Employment of Authorization Card (EAD) or Permanent Residence.”
“I don’t have a Social Security number.”
“I am illegal in the United States.”
SHOULD I DO MY TAXES?
YES! Undocumented immigrants include anyone that entered the United States without inspection or overstayed a visa. Regardless of not having a lawful status, there is still an obligation to pay taxes. According to the IRS and government regulation, you must declare the amount that you earn.
For example, if you earn $18,000 yearly based and an additional $10,000 in tips- you must declare $28,000 as your annual salary.
If you don’t have a record of how much you have earned due to you being paid by your employer or freelance work, then it would be best to guide yourself with the 125% U.S Poverty Guideline chart depending on how many people you reside with. This includes to yourself, your dependents and the family members who live with you and should be equal to or greater than the amount provided. This is the best option for someone who is in immigration proceedings or is an immigrant and will in the future be applying for their green card or permanent residence. See the chart. You do not need a Social Security number to pay your taxes but can obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the IRS to file your taxes. This does not “alert immigration” nor put you in any risk. Undocumented immigrants collectively contribute an estimated $11.74 billion in state and local taxes every year as it is an obligation to pay taxes if you reside in the U.S for over 183 days in a year.
If you are a green card holder or have filed for your income taxes in the past as an immigrant NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO STOP DOING SO. If you fail to file your income taxes as a green card holder, you may hurt your chances of becoming a U.S. citizen in the future. Additionally, if you intentionally do not file your taxes, you may also be guilty of a crime which could result in the loss of your green card and your possible deportation. If you have filed your income taxes previously- you should continue to do so as immigration will see this as a concept of a “Good moral character” which is a criterion for many eligible immigration benefits.
As a reminder, the deadline to file your income taxes is April 15, 2019. Regardless of your immigration status, it’s important that you fulfill your tax obligations. If you are uncertain of how your actions will affect your immigration status, call us and book a consultation with an experienced Attorney to analysis how this may affect your immigration process.
NOTE: if you are a tourist you are not supposed to work and therefore, no income tax applies to you!
At Mercedes Cano we are here to help you. To have your case reviewed by our office, please contact us at 718-505-8506 or please fill out our Contact Form.