Billions and billions in tax revenue from paperless immigrants

MANY PEOPLE without green cards have been doing this for many years: paying their taxes. We have represented thousands of people who did so for a decade or more before getting lawful residence. The government issues ITINs much more easily than working papers:

Illegal immigrants are pouring into tax-preparation offices and nonprofit agencies across Massachusetts and the nation to file state and federal income taxes, taking a step that some might deem unthinkable: giving their name, address, and financial information to the government. In Massachusetts, taxpayers here illegally are lining up, despite the fear of deportation that is permeating the Boston area. While typical American taxpayers are wary of the IRS, the undocumented see it as help in their quest for legal residency. “If you’re making a case that you want to stay here, without a doubt that’s one of the things that the judge is going to look at,” said said Corinn Williams, executive director of the Community Economic Development Center in New Bedford. The IRS created taxpayer identification numbers, or ITINs, in 1996, to track tax returns of those who are ineligible for a Social Security number. Most taxpayers who use ITINs are believed to be illegal immigrants. Nationally, more than 2.1 million such taxpayers filed in 2005. The rising number of taxpayers parallels the national debate about what to do about illegal immigration. Advocates point to paying taxes as proof that immigrants help the economy. From 1996 to 2003, according to an IRS study, ITIN holders were responsible for paying the government almost $50 billion, most of which was withheld from their paychecks. (Boston Globe)

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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