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The law requires undocumented immigrants to follow the same tax laws as other U.S. residents. They must report income and where required, pay taxes. That’s true even if they are working “off-the-books,” and their employer pays in cash.
Whether you must report your income and pay taxes depends on how much you earn. If you are working for an employer who deducts taxes from your pay, you may be due a refund — even if you are undocumented.
For permanent residents, properly reporting income may impact your rights under our immigration laws. If you are a permanent resident and you want to naturalize, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will ask for proof of tax filings. You can naturalize without showing proof of tax filings only if you earned so little that the law didn’t require you to file a return.
As for undocumented immigrants, if Congress ever passes a legalization program, having paid taxes will help you prove that you were living here.
With tax season here already, here’s some tips on tax filing for undocumented workers.
These workers can file a tax return even without a social security number by using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) as a substitute. You get an ITIN by including IRS form W-7 the first time you file a tax return…