Federal Income Taxes and Immigration Status


Federal Income Taxes and Immigration StatusFederal Income Taxes and Immigration Status go hand in hand. Filing both federal and state income taxes can greatly impact your possibilities of becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) or U.S. citizen. The law requires all immigrants (documented or undocumented) to follow the same tax laws as other LPRs and U.S. citizens. You must report your income, depending on how much you and/or your spouse earn.  You may have to pay taxes, even if you receive payment by your employer in cash, and “under-the-table”.  However, if you are working for an employer who deducts taxes from your pay, you may be eligible for a refund, regardless of you immigration status in the U.S.

If you do not have a social security number, you can obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to file taxes.  If you want to file federal or Oklahoma state income taxes this year, do not wait to contact us. How does the IRS determine whether or not you must pay federal income taxes?  The IRS classifies immigrants as Nonresident Aliens and Resident Aliens.  Anyone who is not a Resident Alien is a Nonresident Alien.

Alien Requirements:

  • You are a LPR (you have a Green Card); OR
  • You have been in the U.S. for the majority of the last three years; OR
  • Or you qualify under the “First Year Choice.”

So, if you meet any of these three requirements, you have to file federal income taxes, EVEN IF YOU ARE UNDOCUMENTED. While you may pay taxes, you may also receive a tax refund.  Further, as a result of filing, could prove that you were present in the U.S. for the corresponding tax period.

  • For example, to naturalize and become a U.S. citizen, you will likely have to establish that you have been continuously residing in the U.S.
  • Furthermore, immigration laws and regulations change. So, in the future you may also need to prove your presence in the U.S. Providing tax returns is an excellent way of doing this.
  • By filing income taxes you are also able to establish good moral character which is also often a requirement.
  • Also, as a LPR, you must continue residing in the U.S. If you are unable to prove that you are doing so (by showing employment and filing taxes), your status may be revoked.

Thus, Federal Income Taxes and Immigration Status go hand in hand. There’s benefits to filing taxes in the U.S., even if you think you might not be required to. While you may have to pay the IRS or the State of Oklahoma, you may also receive a return or take advantage of any applicable tax credits or benefits. Finally, filing your state and federal taxes can have a significant impact on your status in the U.S.

Immigration questions we can help. Call our immigration attorneys in Tulsa for a free consultation or to read additional posts in our blog click here.

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