July 1, 2021

Center for Migration Studies: Innovating Inclusion: A New Wave of State Activism to Include Immigrants in Social Safety Nets

ITEP Work in Action

States across the country are tackling an equity issue in the tax code by breaking from federal eligibility standards for their state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs). Specifically, states are taking it upon themselves to end the exclusion of taxpayers who file their taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). ITINs are personal tax processing numbers issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security number. They are primarily issued to undocumented immigrants, although they are also issued to certain lawfully present immigrants. Millions of people pay taxes with ITINs every year. Together ITIN-filers paid $23.6 billion in taxes in 2015. In less than a year, five states have successfully passed legislation to end the exclusion of these tax filers from their EITCs.

Together, the five states that have passed legislation thus far have opened eligibility to approximately 914,000 families for their state credits, according to estimates by the Institute for Tax and Economic Policy. The status of state efforts to end the exclusion of ITIN filers in state EITCs is cataloged below, with updates current as of May 1, 2021.

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