Immigration applications are going to dive deep into a person’s background and history, from their family relations to their taxes.
The latter comes into play very often in the immigration process. Hence, applicants need to be very careful and particular about handling their taxes if they want a successful immigration petition.
Things to Know About Taxes and Immigration
There are three important things to know about taxes and their relationship with the immigration process. These are the following.
1. You Can Get a Tax Extension
For most people, taxes are due on the 15th of April each year. That means tax season is coming, and as early as now, people should already be prepared. But for those who are behind schedule, there is the option for them to file an extension request to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If approved, the IRS will send a letter confirming that the extension has been granted and giving the applicant more time to file their taxes. In most cases, they will have until 15th October of the same year to settle all tax matters.
2. Filing Status is Important
Filing status, i.e. the rate at which a person’s income is taxed, plays an important role in immigration affairs, especially for married individuals. They only have two options when it comes to their filing status:
- Married filing jointly
- Married filing separately
Lawfully married individuals cannot claim any other filing status, such as single, head of household, or qualifying widow. They can then file a tax return with their social security number. Absent this, they can also apply for an ITIN with the IRS, which will help them file their tax returns.
3. Taxes Come Into Play in Immigration Applications
A lot of immigration forms will ask about the applicant’s income and taxes. They mainly come to play in two types of immigration petitions: the I-864 Affidavit of Support and U.S. naturalization.
I-864 Affidavit of Support
In the I-864 form, the applicant will be asked “What is your total income for the last three years?” To fill out this section, they will need to look at their tax return and get the information directly from it. Tax transcripts are downloadable through the IRS website, which can be very helpful in an immigration case.
In case the applicant filed an extension in the most recent year, they should indicate the year and the extensions filed, as well as attach the letter from the IRS that indicates approval of the extension.
Tax matters also come into play in a naturalization application. Among the questions concerning taxes include:
- “Have you ever failed to file your tax return because you thought you were a non-resident?”
- “Do you owe any overdue taxes?”
In asking these, immigration wants to make sure that the applicant is diligent in filing their taxes each year and claiming the proper filing status. Answers to these questions can lead to deductions on the applicant’s good moral character – something that they have to show in applications for U.S. citizenship.
Get Help From a Competent Tax Preparer
Tax affairs can get complex and confusing. And a lot of people make mistakes in the IRS that end up harming their immigration case. Hence, it’s advisable to find and work with a qualified tax preparer, whether a CPA or a tax attorney. These professionals can help ensure that taxes are filed properly, which will go a long way in helping an immigration petition.