How much back taxes to get RPI status?

While the Gang of Eight senators keep talking about undocumented immigrants having to pay assessed taxes before getting approved for Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) legal status, the great news in the Obama Immigration Reform bill is that most likely you will not need to pay any back taxes.  The reason the politicians are making a big deal about back taxes is that it helps in selling the bill to the American public, but if you read the bill carefully, while there is talk of payment of assessed taxes, the way the law is written, you may not owe even a penny to Uncle Sam.  It would not be surprising that if you have your paperwork in order, United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) might even give you a huge refund.

So how come you will not need to pay any taxes?  
  1. If you have filed a tax return, whether using an ITIN or valid Social Security number or even fraudulent SSN (as long as you have a record of it because you cannot get a record from the IRS for a SS# that legally does not belong to you), and if the IRS has never told you that you owe any more taxes, and you have never been audited, you have basically paid all your taxes to the IRS and owe nothing more.
  2. If you have been working illegally and getting paid in cash or personal checks under the table, it means that your employer has not reported your earnings to the IRS.  In other words, for all practical purposes, you might not have worked at all because there is no record of it.  While the law says that you should pay taxes in cases like this, apparently no one can be caught.


     
  3. To prove your continuous presence requirement, the USCIS will accept W-2 forms and other documents from your employer that you have worked.  Some of these documents may declare your wages.  The great news for you is that the law does not require Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to share this information with the IRS, so as long as IRS specifically does not tell the USCIS that you owe taxes (that can only happen if you got a bill from the IRS and you did not pay it back), the USCIS cannot force you to pay taxes.  Why would this be so?  Well, if the DHS forces you to pay back taxes, it means that your employer who paid you will also owe back taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and the business lobby is so powerful, that no politician wants to annoy them.  Telling employers to pay back taxes will be political suicide and that is why US employers are immune from prosecution related to employing unauthorized labor.
  4. If you have been working under fake name(s) and still manage to meet all the requirements of RPI, the USCIS and IRS have no way to find out how much money you made.
  5. The number of job cuts at the IRS have been so severe that it basically has no staff left to enforce US tax laws.  Thanks to Republican policies, the IRS agents are very few in numbers and overworked that the last thing they want to do is to go after undocumented immigrants with incomes mostly below $30,000 a year.
  6. The senators have previously discussed that the cost of developing a system to accurately estimate the income of an undocumented alien will be so high that it would not justify its creation because the tax collected will be very low due to their low incomes.
The conclusion is that if you work with a good lawyer and accountant, you might not have to pay any taxes at all, and on the contrary, you might be able to apply for getting a refund.  Wouldn't that be a nice cash gift from the government along with legalization?