All of the news about the new “public charge” rules is creating a lot of confusion. If you are applying for residency through a family member, you need to know what is MOST important about the new rules, and tune out the rest. So … what is MOST important?

Is it your kids’ Medicaid? No.
Is it your kids’ food stamps? No.
Is it your WIC benefits? No.

(You should not change any of these benefits, if you have them – they do not count against you in the “public charge” determination.)

The answer is kind of boring: It’s your paperwork.

It’s your taxes, your bank statements, your pay stubs, your car insurance, your health insurance, your property and vehicle titles. Boring things like this. And especially your TAXES.

Your TAXES are the way that you communicate to the Federal Government that you are contributing to the national economy and our common good in the USA.

So, it is now more important than ever that your TAXES be CORRECT.

We have noticed that a lot of tax preparers encourage families to claim nieces, nephews, family living abroad – even neighbors – as dependents so as to maximize someone’s tax refund.

Also, we often see tax preparers telling spouses to file as “Head of Household,” when in fact, they are married and living with their spouse.

Doing your taxes like this might give you a bigger tax refund this year, but please know that doing this will likely cause problems for immigrants under the new “public charge” rules.

So, if you are an immigrant seeking legal status or residency in the United States, make sure your taxes are done correctly. Use a reputable tax preparer and make sure they are asking you a lot of questions every year.

And please be patient with your immigration attorneys if we tell you to get your taxes re-done! Our job now is to help you demonstrate your work ethic, your personal ambition, your determination to contribute to the USA. And your taxes will be a key component of how we do that.

If you have questions about how the new rules affect you and your case, please call us at (512) 633-1785 or email us at [email protected].