The best part of the Obama Immigration Reform bill is that most likely you will not need to pay any back taxes despite the fact that it is in the law. Actually, if you have kept copies of your tax filings from the past, the IRS might even send you a check. The only reason Senator Marco Rubio keeps talking about unauthorized immigrants being forced to pay assessed taxes before getting approved for Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) legal status is to make him look like this tough guy, which we all know he is not.
What are the reasons that you will not need to pay back taxes to legalize?
- If you were paid in cash under the table, it means that your employer has not reported your wages to the IRS. In other words, there is no record of your employment.
- If you submit W-2 forms to prove your continuous presence, the law does not require DHS to share this information about your employment with the IRS, so as long as during a background check it does not pop up that you are delinquent on your taxes, the USCIS cannot force you to pay taxes (according to the law, the IRS does not share a lot of data with other government agencies and that is how even people illegally in the United States can file tax returns and get refunds).
- If the USCIS forces you to pay back taxes, it means that your employer who paid you off the books will also owe back taxes that employers are required to pay. Thankfully, the small business lobby (they are even more aggressive than NRA and both Democrats and Republicans are in bed with them) is so nasty that no politician wants to ask them even for a penny.
- It has been argued by think tanks that estimating the income of an alien working without papers and with no record will be so time consuming and costly that it would not cover the cost because the tax collected will be very low due to their low incomes of undocumented workers.
- If you have filed a tax return and if the IRS has never audited you and told you that you owe more taxes, you owe nothing more.
- If you have been working under more than one name(s) and still manage to meet all the requirements of RPI, the government has no way to find out if you even worked or how much income you had.
- You can thank the GOP for shrinking the IRS which has hardly any staff left to go after tax cheats, especially those with low incomes. There is no way the Republicans will agree to expand the size of the government to collect taxes from any one, even undocumented aliens.
It is important to understand that American laws make it mandatory to pay taxes on all income and you need to do this with the assistance of competent attorneys and accountants; otherwise the risk is too high, not only of being denied for adjustment to RPI but also for tax fraud. However, if you do it right, you might actually receive a refund.