San Francisco, CA asked in Immigration Law and Tax Law for California

Q: Citizenship and possible back taxes.

My citizenship interview is scheduled for September. I may owe taxes to the IRS.

1. My former husband and I had an installment agreement with the IRS. We divorced in 2018; the marriage settlement agreement states that “the debt to the IRS” (it doesn’t specify the amount owed or the year we entered into the installment agreement) is allocated to him. I do not know whether he has paid the debt in full. Should I be concerned? Should I bring the MSA to my citizenship interview? Should I try to get a copy of the installment agreement from my former spouse?

2. This year I filed for an extension with the IRS. I believe I don’t owe any taxes for the previous fiscal year. Should I still complete and file my 2018 tax return? If so, should I bring it to the interview?

The letter from the USCIS doesn’t ask me to bring any tax returns to the interview. Should I still do it?

3. How does USCIS know whether an applicant owes taxes given that it has no access to IRS’s records?

Thank you!

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2 Lawyer Answers
Kevin L Dixler
Kevin L Dixler
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL

A: Yes, you should bring proof that you filed your tax returns, among other items, as mentioned. It’s unclear whether the documents will prove enough or even the subject of a request, but the examiner can make a request as a matter of discretion.

If asked for your tax returns, or proof of filing, you must tender verifiable documentation. It may seem rather hypocritical, perhaps, but it’s required that a naturalization applicant prove that they filed their income tax returns upon request.

Tax transcripts are best. If an applicant owes taxes, they may be denied as a matter of discretion.

If there are issues, perhaps undisclosed ones, then the decision may be delayed. Naturalization applicants can be referred to immigration court for deportation. Use care, so if you have other concerns, contact a competent and experienced immigration attorney before the exam. Good luck.

The above is general information, not legal advice, and does not create an attorney client relationship.

Hector E. Quiroga
Hector E. Quiroga
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Las Vegas, NV

A: 1. Take a copy of the that and the divorce decree to the interview.

2. It could facilitate adjudication if you bring it.

3. First, don’t assume it doesn’t. Second, they go off of what the applicant says on the application and in the interview.

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