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Illegals use false or traded Social Security Numbers that the employers wink at

October 27th, 2014 · No Comments

Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2014 14:11:02 -0400
From: Michael Cotter
Subject: Taylor Kish and Pamela Buckingham on Illegal Immigrants

I worked for years as a volunteer tax preparer in Chatham County under the IRS-sponsored VITA program. We prepared many returns for undocumented aliens. In my experience most such people in our county are hard workers. More were when the chicken processing plants were open, doing jobs that others won’t do for wages that allow stores to sell chicken for $0.99 a pound. Very few can afford to be unproductive because social services alone (to only some of which they are entitled in any case) are insufficient to live on. They use false or traded Social Security Numbers that the employers wink at. The great majority of them file tax returns. (The IRS doesn’t care if you are here legally or not, just that you pay taxes.) They do so for two reasons: first, because of the low income they generally are entitled to a refund of taxes withheld; second, because it is commonly believed that if comprehensive immigration reform ever happens people will be required to show they were meaningfully employed for several years in order to benefit.. I note that undocumented persons are not entitled to the federal Earned Income Credit (the state version having been deleted by the legislature). Fraud in this area is usually caused by fly-by-night tax preparers who knowingly give that credit to people not entitled to it in order to increase a refund and thereby their charges.

Of course, people working with a false or stolen SS number will never qualify for SS benefits. Several years ago there was an estimate that the Social Security Administration took in some $8 billion a year in contributions from people (not all of them here unlawfully) who will be unable to claim benefits.

One of the scandals involving undocumented people, as well as more broadly in our society according to recent news reports, is when an employer treats employees as contractors, thereby avoiding having to pay benefits or payroll taxes while claiming the “contractor” as a business expense.

Michael Cotter

Tags: Musings

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