Illegal Aliens Collect Billions in Tax Benefits

Federal government data shows that while roughly half of illegal immigrants file federal tax returns, the vast majority of them don’t pay any federal income taxes at all. Instead, they use their IRS returns to claim “refundable tax credits,” which are a form of cash welfare. In other words, illegal immigrants mainly use the federal income tax code to collect money from U.S. citizens, according to a study by

Federal law prohibits illegal immigrants from taking jobs in the U.S., so many of them work for cash “off the books” or fraudulently use Social Security numbers stolen from U.S. citizens. A 2013 report by the Social Security Administration said illegal immigrants typically get Social Security numbers by using counterfeit birth certificates or stealing other people’s numbers.

One of the ways illegal immigrants collect money from the federal government is through an IRS program that gives them “Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers” or ITINs. These numbers are “issued regardless of an individual’s immigration status,” and they allow illegal immigrants and foreign investors to file tax returns without a Social Security number.

Obtaining an ITIN allows illegal immigrants to claim the federal Child Tax Credit, which provides them with a cash benefit of up to $1,000 per child per year. According to the latest IRS data, 72% of all tax returns filed with ITINs in 2010 claimed child tax credits to receive cash payments from the federal government.

The data shows those 72% of ITIN filers paid no income tax and received cash payments through child tax credits. In comparison, only 14% of people who filed regular tax returns with a Social Security number instead of an ITIN paid no income tax and received these payments. reports that “in 2010, ITIN filers paid a total of $0.9 billion in income taxes and received cash payments of $4.9 billion. In other words, ITIN filers received 5.4 times more cash than they paid in income taxes. Most of this cash—$4.0 billion of it—came through child tax credits.


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