It’s tax season! The 2021 federal tax deadline is May 17, 2021, to file your 2020 taxes. This year the deadline was again delayed from the normal April 15 deadline due to the pandemic and the need to update the IRS computers to account for tax changes made by the American Rescue Plan Act, including the stimulus checks and unemployment benefits. As an immigrant in the United States, you are required to file and pay all required federal, state and local taxes. Failure of immigrants to file your tax returns with the IRS, or lying on your tax return, is cause for your immigration application to be denied.
Both legal immigrants and undocumented immigrants are legally required to file U.S. tax returns and pay taxes, U.S. immigration law says that tax fraud, including failure to file your taxes or lying on your tax returns, is a crime of moral turpitude and an aggravated felony. If you are convicted of tax fraud, your immigration application can be denied and you can be deported.
What If You Don’t Have a Social Security Number?
A Social Security Number (SSN) is required to file your taxes with the IRS. Noncitizens who do not have a Social Security Number and are paid in cash are legally required to file taxes. Undocumented immigrants can use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in place of an SSN.
Paying your taxes demonstrates you are making a good faith effort of “good moral character.”
What Is Good Moral Character?
Good moral character is a requirement for citizenship and is considered by immigration officers for a green card and other immigration applications. USCIS assumes that anyone under the age of 14 has good moral character. For anyone 14 years of age and over, good moral character is a non-negotiable requirement.
USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) policy guidance provides examples of “unlawful acts” that adversely reflect on moral character for immigration purposes, including failure to file or pay taxes.
If you have questions about filing your taxes as an immigrant, the attorneys at Chicago’s Godoy Law Office help immigrants navigate the complex and numerous immigration policies, procedures, and regulations. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 630-912-0322.