Why is Declaring Taxes Correctly Important for My Immigration Status?
Declaring income correctly on tax returns every year is required by U.S. law, and for American residents and citizens, this includes any worldwide income. If you are an immigrant, most immigration applications will require the production of tax records at some point in the process. False or inaccurate information on your tax returns can have a negative impact on your immigration status, which may result in delays or even a denial of an immigration petition.
Moreover, the USCIS officials that are responsible for reviewing and approving or denying immigration applications are employees of the Federal government, which is supported by the taxes collected each year. As such, they often spend a portion of their time examining and reviewing tax returns. In addition, the immigration law has several sections that regulate how much income must be earned and reported on tax forms to support employment-based immigration petitions and family-based residency applications. Therefore, it is extremely important to have your tax returns properly prepared and filed.
What are Some of the Most Common Errors People Make on Their Taxes that can Affect their Immigration Status?
Some common mistakes to avoid include:
- Misstating filing status:
- If you are married and living with your spouse, you cannot file as single.
- If you and your spouse are both working full time, then you likely cannot be head of household.
- If you are not married but live in the same household as the other parent of your child and you both work full time, then you are probably not head of household.
- Declaring dependents who are not dependents according to the definition in the tax code.
- You may not claim as dependents individuals or family members not residing in your house (especially if they do not live in the U.S.).
- There are specific conditions that must be met in order for a person living in your house to be a dependent. Make sure you review these carefully with your accountant or tax preparer.
- Under reporting or not reporting income. All income received must be reported by law. If you have a household of four persons and you are claiming less than $10,000, or an extremely moderate income, this may be questionable and lead to an investigation.
How Can I Declare Taxes if I am Paid in Cash and I Do not Have a Social Security Number?
Even if you do not have a W-2 (wage and tax statement) from an employer, you can still declare the all of your earnings during a given year in your tax return and pay taxes. If you do not have a social security number, you may be able to obtain a Tax ID number (ITIN) and use this number instead to file your tax return.
You will probably be required to pay all the taxes owed on your earnings, as given you have not been paid via a payroll system, your employer has most likely not withheld or deducted any taxes from your wages.
What is an Individual Tax ID Number (ITIN), What are its Benefits, and How Do I Get One?
An Individual Tax ID Number is a number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to record any taxes which a person who does not have a social security number owes. The benefit of using an ITIN number is that it provides an individual with a way to declare and pay taxes, even if the income earned was reported to an invalid social security number.
This may serve as evidence that a person has been in the U.S. for a period of time to demonstrate eligibility for an immigration benefit such as cancellation of removal. It also can be used to demonstrate work experience to establish eligibility for a green card based on employment, as well as to provide evidence of an employer’s ability to pay when sponsoring an employee for a green card.
To obtain a tax ID number you must file the form W-7 with the IRS with evidence of identity, like a copy of your passport. You will receive the number in the mail with approximately within 1 to 2 months.
What Can I Do if I Have Incorrectly Filed My Taxes in the Past?
If taxes have been filed erroneously in the past, you can file amendments or corrections, which will mean you will be responsible for paying back any taxes which should have been paid if the taxes were filed correctly in the first place.
Call 617-303-2600 (Ext. 0) to schedule an appointment with one of our Boston immigration, criminal defense and personal injury lawyers if you need help with obtaining legal immigration status, defending a criminal charge or obtaining compensation for an injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident or a person’s or company’s negligence. You may also request your appointment online.