Monday, April 16, 2007

How Illegals Pay Taxes

The NYT wants you to know that many illegal immigrants pay income taxes:

Illegal immigrants do not have Social Security numbers, but the Internal Revenue Service allows them to file taxes by assigning applicants individual taxpayer identification numbers [(ITIN)]. The numbers were introduced in 1996 to encourage noncitizens with United States income, including foreign investors, to file returns. It is generally accepted that most of the 11 million numbers issued since then have gone to illegal immigrants. . . .

In the 2005 tax year, the last for which such data is available, 1.9 million returns were filed with the primary taxpayer’s using an . . . ITIN, up 30 percent from 2004.

Applications for the numbers spiked last year, with 1.5 million new ITINs issued through the beginning of November, more than any full year since the program started.

Nancy Mathis, a spokeswoman for the I.R.S., said the agency did not know the reason for the increase, but added, “It is likely due to more effective outreach by community organizations and proposed legislation last year linking payment of taxes to eventual citizenship". . . .

[B]ecause most immigration bills make the payment of back taxes a prerequisite for legal status, that message seems to be getting through more clearly than ever.