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  • Article: Targeting Immigrant Taxpayers as a Matter of Course by Wendy Feliz

    Targeting Immigrant Taxpayers as a Matter of Course

    by Wendy Feliz

    shutterstock_167873873Unfortunately, there is a new fallback position for some members of Congress when it comes to finding ways to save money. That position is eliminating the Additional Child Tax Credit for immigrant taxpayers. This has been proposed in the past by other members of Congress; however, the latest iteration is in the form of an amendment that Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) proposed to “pay for a three-month extension of unemployment benefits by stopping a scheme that currently allow {sic} illegal immigrants to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit.”

    Calling a program which allows immigrant workers to pay taxes and legally claim tax credits a “scheme” distorts reality. Immigrant workers—both undocumented and lawfully present immigrants—like all workers, are required to pay taxes and many do so using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The IRS has determined that ITIN filers are indeed eligible to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit for their qualified children. Those who are undocumented pay into a system that makes them ineligible for the vast majority of benefits their tax dollars fund.

    The statement from Ayotte’s office attempts to use a few media reports about alleged misuse of the program as a way to make the cast that we must bring tax credits to immigrant tax-payers and their children—80 percent of whom are U.S. Citizens to an end:

    “In just one example, according to a 2012 news report, an undocumented worker in Indiana admitted that his address was used to file tax returns by four other undocumented workers, who fraudulently claimed 20 children in total – resulting in tax refunds totaling nearly $30,000. Ayotte’s amendment would make a simple fix to the U.S. tax code to require filers to have Social Security Numbers in order to qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit, which the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates would save approximately $20 billion over 10 years.”

    Weeding out fraud is important and while there have been some reports of fraud in the program, just as there is in other tax programs, the “fraud” doesn’t occur when an ITIN holder claims the credit. Ending the entire program punishes those who are seeking to follow the law is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    ITIN filers are doing the right thing by paying into the tax system with little hope of collecting any future benefits for themselves. In 2010, ITIN tax filers paid more than $13 billion in payroll taxes to support Social Security and Medicare—over ten years, this will amount to an estimated $130 billion, according to the Social Security Administration. There may be debate as to whether this is fair or reasonable policy, but it is not a scheme, nor is it fraud. The debate about ITIN filers and the Additional Child Tax Credit should be fueled by honest reporting and reliable facts.

    Printed by Wendy Feliz for the Immigration Policy Center. Reprinted with Permission.


    About The Author

    Wendy Feliz is the Director of Communications at the American Immigraion Council. Prior to joining the Council, Ms. Feliz served as Director of Development at New America Media, after having worked at the Open Society Institute, and public radio station WAMU 88.5 as the Manager of Foundation Relations and Public Information. Ms. Feliz has spent much of her career in the non-profit world including with The California Hispanic Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in East Los Angeles and The Young Adult Institute and Latino Worker’s Center in New York City. Ms. Feliz received her M.A. in Public Communication from the American University in Washington D.C. and she holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from the New School University in New York.


    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. violita's Avatar
      violita -
      This is the whole problem with illegal aliens in American, sure they pay some income tax, but some how they have been getting back more then what they had pay into it! actually it doesn't matter what illegal aliens do in America, some one always comes along and just sugarcoat all their wrongdoings in America!!! Many of them have been lying to our IRS for years, getting back 4.2 billions of dollars back, for their families that doesn't live in America! They also lie to our welfare, and get free government freebies, this is alright also!!!! Now America is being giving away to millions of them, turning America into their country, no longer America, Americans are being force to live in their country. America has been sneakily setting up house for illegal aliens for years, this is why they are allow to take millions of our jobs, and at the same time leave millions of American jobless, they are strongly allow to work and bring home pay checks in America, while millions of Americans are terribly left jobless in their own country America!!! Giving millions of illegal aliens amnesty legalization, will be their gain of America, and it will be Americans loss of their own country America! This is totally ignored by our own president, and many people of congress, illegal aliens advocates, they could care less! This is going to continue to leave millions of Americans terribly jobless in their own country America!
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