Immigration Matters: Correlation of Tax Returns, Immigration

Mabuhay and hafa adai. April 15, the deadline to file individual tax returns, is a date that many individuals who reside in the United States are familiar with.

With respect to filing for and requesting for certain immigration benefits, an individual’s tax return is an important document, that either must be submitted or that an individual must have readily available for an immigration or a consular officer to review.

Proof of a bona fide relationship. Married couples have a choice to file a joint tax return (married filing jointly) or a separate tax return (married filing separately). Although the choice of which type of return to file is contingent on many factors, if a married couple decides to file separate tax returns, an immigration officer, who is evaluating the married couple’s relationship, may delve further on the reasons why the couple did so.

Generally, the submission of a joint tax return reflects that the couple share a bona fide relationship. Proof of a bona fide relationship is important when an individual files for an adjustment of status based upon a marriage to a U.S. citizen, or when an individual who was granted a conditional resident status, is filing a petition to remove the conditions.

Submitting a naturalization application. An individual who is filing an application for naturalization is asked whether he or she has filed his or her tax returns. If an individual fails to submit his or her tax returns, the individual will be asked as to why such a failure occurred. If an individual was required to file, but failed to do so, the naturalization application will likely be denied.

There are certain instances, however, where an individual isn’t required to file his or her returns, so the failure to file shouldn’t preclude an individual from considering submitting an application for naturalization. If an individual files his or her tax returns, but has an outstanding tax obligation, the interviewing officer may deny the application if the applicant has not made a payment arrangement to pay off the tax obligation.

By Catherine Bejeran Camacho for PACIFIC DAILY NEWS
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