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Back Taxes & Immigration Reform

The United State Senate has already cleared the first hurdle, towards legalizing undocumented immigrants in the United States by passing the Senate Immigration Bill S.744. The House will take up the immigration bill very soon.

It is highly expected that Bill S.744 will be signed into law before end of this year. Now if you are undocumented and are waiting to avail the benefit of this reform, obviously you should prepare yourself and be fully aware of the list of things that would be required for you to successfully obtain a legal status and the ultimate path towards Citizenship.

The first and most important qualifying factor for the immigration reform is filing for back-taxes and satisfying any Federal tax liability you might have since the day you entered the country and worked for any US Employer, either on a W-2 or independently.

So for example, if you entered the US in 2003 and have been working since 2004, you should file all the tax returns beginning 2004 to this current year. If you did not work in any particular year, it is still recommended that you file a zero return.

How do you go about filing a tax return, if you are undocumented?

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has nothing to do with a person’s immigration status. It is a common myth and misconception that filing tax returns could somehow put undocumented immigrants under immigration proceedings, and as a result of this false assumption, there are millions who haven’t filed taxes.

Many do not know, that filing taxes is actually seen as a sign of “good moral character” which has been viewed positively even by immigration courts in all kinds of proceedings.

Americans file taxes using a Social Security Number. IRS actually allots an ITIN (Individual Tax ID Number) if you don’t have a valid immigration status. This number is not to be used for working purposes, but is used only to file tax returns with the IRS. That means you would have to apply for an ITIN for yourself and your dependents who would be included on the tax returns.

With the immigration reform which would benefit over 10 million undocumented workers, it is necessary to begin preparations for obtaining an ITIN (Individual Tax ID Number) and filing all back taxes. This process can take sometimes upto 2-3 months before IRS issues you an ITIN and accepts your tax returns. If you wait until the last moment, and the immigration reform becomes law, you would be scrambling at the last moment to find your back year W-2s from your previous employers, and might result in a delay or non-qualification of your obtaining a “Provisional Immigrant Status”

You can call us on 315-569-2650 or 855-GO-EFILE, if you have any questions about obtaining an ITIN (Individual Tax ID Number) and/or filing back taxes.

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