Illegal immigrants filed tax returns in record numbers last year, despite immigration raids across the country. Many file returns because they hope it will help them gain permanent residence through an amnesty program. Other feel they are benefiting from being in the USA and it is simply the right thing to do.
In 1996, the I.R.S. created the Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN) to keep track of tax returns being filed by those without a social security number. The issuance of a tax ID number is restricted to those who are actually filing a federal income tax return.
This tax ID number is used to pay taxes, but also has been used to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, and ultimately buy homes.
Although you might be afraid to file an income tax return, remember the IRS is not allowed to share taxpayer information with other government agencies. This includes the Dept of Homeland Security.
It is difficult to determine how much illegal immigrants are paying in taxes because the federal government doe not fully tally it. However, the latest figures indicate it will amount to BILLIONS of dollars in Federal income, social security and medicare taxes this year. One estimate puts the amount of social security taxes alone at around $9 billion per year.
A person married to a US citizen, seeking adjustment of status, should not hesitate to file an income tax return. This is because an immigrant married to a US citizen may obtain a green card although he is working without an employment authorization card.