IRS defends tax breaks for workers in US illegally
Posted: 3:37 pm Monday, March 2nd, 2015
By Jamie Dupree
A GOP Senator says he’ll push for legislation after the Internal Revenue Service confirmed that under the President’s executive actions on immigration, people who have been working illegally in the United States could claim a low income tax credit – even for time when they wrongly were present in the U.S.
In a letter sent to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said the tax agency is not changing how it views the tax status of those now here illegally.
Grassley says that will mean several million people could gain legal status in the U.S., and then retroactively claim several years of benefits under the Earned Income Tax Credit.
“Given the IRS’ interpretation of tax rules intended to prohibit undocumented workers from qualifying for the EITC, these individuals will be eligible to claim billions of dollars in tax benefits based on earnings from unauthorized work in the United States,” Grassley said on Monday.
Grassley vowed to push legislation to remedy that.
“The tax code shouldn’t reward those who broke our immigration laws,” the Iowa Republican said in a statement.
The letter from the IRS chief reinforced his recent testimony on Capitol Hill, in which he plainly said those working in the U.S. illegally could file for the EITC if they were to gain a legal status.
“The law doesn’t say ‘legally working,’ the law simply says it is tied to people working,” Koskinen told lawmakers in a February hearing when asked about EITC eligibility for those impacted by the President’s immigration actions.
IRS figures from 2012 show the average EITC credit was over $2,300.