Tax Obligations for Immigrants in the USA: Everything you need to know

One of the immigration myths in the community holds that migrants should not pay or file taxes. However, immigrants pay U.S. taxes as for any U.S. citizen or resident. That’s why today we’ll look at everything you need to know about your tax obligations.

Remember that not paying taxes is a serious crime. This can result in penalties ranging from fines to deportation. Therefore, it is important to consult with an immigration attorney to be clear about your tax obligations according to your status. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help. Tell us your case and secure your future.

Do immigrants pay taxes in USA?

Yes, immigrants pay taxes in the U.S. just like any other U.S. citizen or resident. You must comply with your tax obligations, as this can help you prove your good conduct and serves as a record of your residence in the country.

All immigrants pay taxes in the USA
All immigrants pay taxes in USA

However, only those who work have sources of income, own property or operate a business within the United States are subject to taxation. Therefore, you should consult with an attorney to understand your tax obligations. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact us and stay up to date with your taxes.

What taxes do I have to pay as an immigrant?

As we have seen, all immigrants pay taxes in USA. In the following table you will find the tax obligations of every legal immigrant in the United States.

Type of TaxDescriptionRateImmigrant Liability
Federal Income TaxTax on earned and unearned income, including wages, interest, dividends and others.Progressive rates ranging from 10% to 37%, depending on income level.File an annual return (Form 1040) and pay taxes due.
State Income TaxesSome states charge an income tax in addition to the federal income tax.Varies by state (some do not even have this tax).File a state return (if applicable) and pay state taxes.
Payroll tax (FICA)Includes Social Security and Medicare. These taxes are withheld from employees’ salaries.Social Security: 6.2%, Medicare: 1.45% (employer and employee).Employers withhold these taxes from wages. The self-employed pay both.
Unemployment Tax (FUTA)Tax employers pay to finance unemployment insurance.6.0% on the first $7,000 of wages paid to each employee.None (only employer’s responsibility)
Property TaxTax on real estate, such as homes and land.Varies by state and property value.Property owner’s responsibility (generally annual).

Please note that the taxes you must pay vary depending on the state in which you live. Therefore, it is important to consult an attorney to be clear about your tax obligations. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact us and get the legal help you need.

How do I pay my taxes as an immigrant in the United States?

To comply with the tax obligations for immigrants, it is necessary to follow these steps:

Step 1: Obtain an SSN or ITIN

To pay taxes in the United States, you will need a tax identifier. Legal immigrants generally have a Social Security Number (SSN), but if you do not have one, you can also apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

Step 2: Gather the Necessary Documentation

Before preparing your tax declaration, be sure to gather all the necessary documentation. Remember that you will need to request and file the necessary forms with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Step 3: Complete your Tax Declaration

Once you have gathered the necessary documentation, you must complete your tax declaration. You can use tax software (such as TurboTax or H&R Block), hire a certified accountant to help you, and/or manually fill out the tax forms and mail them in.

Step 4: File your Tax Return

After completing your return, you must file it with the IRS and, if applicable, your state tax agency. You can do this electronically through the IRS Free File service (if you qualify) or mail your paper return to the IRS address for your state of residence.

Step 5: Pay Any Taxes Due

If your return shows that you owe taxes, you must pay them along with any applicable penalties. You can pay directly from your bank account through the IRS online payment system, send a check or money order along with your tax return, or request a payment plan (in case you can’t afford the costs).

You should pay any tax due to the IRS as soon as possible.
You should pay any tax due to the IRS as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that there are several deductions and tax credits available that can reduce your tax burden. Therefore, it is important to consult with an attorney to understand your tax benefits and obligations. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact us and secure your future in the United States.

What documentation do I need to pay my taxes?

All immigrants pay taxes in USA, but, in order to do so, you must present the following documentation:

  • SSN or ITIN: Necessary to identify the taxpayer and file the tax return.
  • Form W-7: If you do not have a SSN and need to apply for an ITIN.
  • Form W-2: Provided by your employer; shows income earned and taxes withheld during the year.
  • Form 1040: U.S. Personal Income Tax Return
  • Form 1099: For unearned income, such as self-employment income, interest, dividends, and other income.
  • Bank Statements and Financial Statements: Information on interest and dividend income.
  • Unemployment Record (Form 1099-G): If you have received unemployment benefits.
  • Records of Deductions and Credits: Documentation of expenses that may be deductible, such as mortgage interest (Form 1098), charitable donations, medical expenses, etc.
  • Form 1095-A/B/C: Relating to health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  • Education Documentation: Form 1098-T for tuition and higher education expenses, and Form 1098-E for student loan interest.
  • Proof of Immigration Status: Documents such as your Green Card or work visa.
  • Record of Estimated Tax Payments: Proof of estimated tax payments made during the year.
  • Personal Identification: A valid government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
  • Receipts and Invoices: For any expense you wish to claim as a deduction.

Tax obligations for immigrants vary depending on their status. Therefore, depending on your case, you may need additional documentation. This is why it is best to find a lawyer to help you gather the necessary documents. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact  us and get your paperwork in order.

How to obtain a Social Security Number?

To obtain an SSN, you must complete Form SS-5 and present documents that prove your identity, age, and immigration status. Accepted documents include your passport, visa, and green card (if applicable). The process is free and the SSN is mailed to you.

How to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?

To obtain an ITIN, you must complete Form W-7 and submit it along with your tax return and identity documents to the IRS. You can submit the application by mail, in person at an IRS office, or through an acceptance agent.

Do I have to pay taxes if I am undocumented?

Yes, all immigrants pay taxes in U.S., even undocumented immigrants. In addition, this could be beneficial to you, as paying taxes can show good citizenship and function as evidence of presence in the country, things you will need to regularize your status in the future.

What should I do if I receive income from abroad while in the U.S.?

Income from international sources usually requires an immigrant tax return in the U.S. However, there are possible deductions or tax credits related to these foreign earnings. Therefore, in these cases it is best to consult an attorney or tax expert for these situations.

Do I still have to pay taxes in the United States if I was deported?

Deportation changes residency status, but does not necessarily exempt immigrants from tax obligations, especially if there was income in the country during the tax year. However, each case is unique, so it is essential to seek the advice of a qualified attorney.


Beyond the prejudices and myths about immigration that circulate, all immigrants pay taxes in USA. Whether legal or undocumented, migrants must file their taxes and contribute to the tax system. However, tax benefits and obligations change depending on your residency status. 

Therefore, it is best to seek the help of an attorney or accountant to better understand your obligations as a taxpayer and avoid problems with both USCIS and the IRS. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact us and get the legal assistance you need.


IRS – International Taxpayers

IRS – Personal Taxpayer Identification Number

SSA – Social Security Number (SSN) Information

Other Resources

Top 10 Most Common Myths about Immigration to the U.S.

How to obtain a Green Card in the United States – Updated Guide

What are the Green Card categories?

What is the difference between Green Card and citizenship?

How to avoid deportation in the U.S.: the complete guide

What are the reasons to deport a person from the United States?

What does it mean to be a public charge?