Introduction of Legislation to Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to Deny the Refundable Portion of the Child Tax Credit to Individuals Who Are Not Authorized to Be Employed in the United…by Representative Gus M. Bilirakis
Posted on 2015-01-07
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Speaker, today I introduced legislation to prevent
illegal immigrants from claiming the refundable portion of the child
tax credit. The refundable child tax credit provides cash payment to
low-income families who pay no income tax. The program was intended to
be an additional cash benefit for families who receive the earned-
income tax credit. While administered through the tax code, it is a
means-tested welfare expenditure. Since Social Security numbers are
issued only to those who have the legal right to work in the United
States, illegal immigrants use Individual Taxpayer Identification
Numbers (ITIN), which are issued by the IRS regardless of legal status.
ITINs allow a person to file a tax return and thus claim the tax
credit. The Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Certifying Agent Program,
which allows a person to apply for an ITIN on behalf of an individual
with no verification of their immigration status, has compounded the
abuse of ITINs for fraudulent tax claims. With no verification of a
person's status on their tax return or at the issuance of an ITIN, the
system has a significant fault, which allows taxpayer dollars to go to
those who are not eligible.
The Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has reported that illegal immigrants claimed $4.2 billion through this child tax credit in 2010. With the federal government borrowing heavily to finance deficits of nearly $1 trillion, we need to ensure federal benefits are only going to law-abiding citizens.
We must take steps to solve this waste of taxpayer money by ending this gap in the tax code. If enacted, this legislation would require those claiming the tax credit to list their social security number or other proof of lawful immigration status on their tax return. It would also require the IRS to verify the proper documentation before issuing ITINs. The TIGTA has estimated this legislation would reduce federal spending by $8.4 billion over two years.
At a time when the federal government is operating under significant deficits, we must ensure scarce taxpayer dollars are used responsibly. Allowing them to go to those who are in this country illegally is grossly irresponsible. This simple and common sense measure will ensure better accountability to all taxpayers, while also saving money.
In short, this legislation will ensure this welfare program is only available to its intended recipients, ensuring those who follow the law can continue to receive this assistance. I look forward to working with my colleagues to move this legislation through Congress.