Immigration Blog

March 12, 2019

Undocumented Workers Can File Tax Returns and Pay Taxes With An ITIN

Please check with a reputable tax preparer to see if you are required to file a tax return. We often send clients to H&R block.  Many clients have gone to ‘notarios’ and are given bad tax filing advice.

In 2018, a person under 65, single and earning $12,000 or more, is required to file a tax return.

Many undocumented workers file tax returns with an Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN).  The form to obtain this number is on the attached link www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw7.pdf . Complying with the law is important and may affect undocumented individuals when and if they are able to change their status and become documented.  Filing taxes helps show good moral character, is evidence of presence in the United States (paper trail), and may be evidence of hardship on your family if you are ever placed in removal proceedings or if you need to file for a waiver.

There are some Immigration Judges that will deny cases in deportation court if the the undocumented person did not file income tax returns.  Immigration Judges have ruled that it is bad moral character not to file income tax returns.  In addition, many clients have to file back taxes to prevent a bad moral character ruling from an immigration judge–this may result in additional money owed, penalties and interest.  Filing taxes with a reputable tax preparer each year will help prevent interest, penalties and fees.

A common mistake we see on tax returns is claiming relatives as dependents that do not qualify as dependents.  You must provide half of their annual cost of support, no one else is claiming them as a dependent, and the dependent must not earn more than $4150/year.  Claiming individuals who are not dependents under tax law could be viewed as fraud, bad moral character, and result in penalties, interest, and extra fees.  It’s important to find a reputable tax preparer and check with them each year on whether or not you must file a tax return.