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During Tax Season Undocumented Texans Were Filing, Too

18 Apr

By Elizabeth Trovall, Houston Public Media

In Texas alone, the undocumented population paid an estimated $1.9 billion to the IRS.

That’s according to 2016 research by the New American Economy Research Fund.

They estimate that, in Texas, undocumented immigrants paid another $1.3 billion to local and state governments.

“For Uncle Sam, your migratory status doesn’t matter,” said Cristina Cave, Community Relations Manager for BakerRipley.

“If you’re earning money, you have to pay taxes and you have to file a tax return,” she said.

BakerRipley provides free tax services to low-income families in Houston, including the undocumented population.

Cave said the organization has helped hundreds of families looking to file taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN.

An ITIN, issued by the IRS, can be used in lieu of a verified Social Security number.

During this year’s tax season, over 500 families applied for ITINs or renewed existing numbers through BakerRipley.

Though they don’t receive social security or medicare benefits, Cave said a history of paying taxes can help immigrants when they are seeking legal status.

“It’s the best sign of how long they’ve been here in the country and that they want to be good citizens,” said Cave.

In the Houston Metro Area, all immigrants (both legal and undocumented) contributed a total of $11.7 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

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