No agencies look into illegal immigrants filing taxes
February 28, 2012

The sign hanging outside Liberty Income Tax on Oleander Drive in Wilmington states, "No Reportamos Su Estatus a Immigracion."

When translated to English, the gist of the message the sign sends to customers is that the business won't report anyone to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. wanted to search for more answers after some questioned how someone who is living here illegally can file taxes with the government.

WECT found no "watchdog" agency that oversees citizenship in the tax process.

Workers at Liberty Income Tax have been busy filing income tax forms for customers before the upcoming April deadline.
Some of those customers are illegal immigrants.

"We just put that sign up there to let them know that we're not going nail them to a wall," office manager Adele Bomhan said. "We're not going to judge them and we're not going to ask."

"Do you see a lot [of illegal immigrants] coming in?" WECT's Ashlea Kosikowski asked Bomhan.

"They don't tell us," Bomhan said. "They don't come in and say, ‘Hey! I'm an illegal.'"

Bomhan said that even if a person is in the US illegally, Uncle Sam still wants his share.

She said the IRS doesn't turn them into the ICE.

"That section of the government is happy, because they are collecting social security and Medicare that they'll never have to pay out to this person," Bomhan said.

Illegal immigrants don't have social security numbers, but they can get what's called an I-10 number to pay taxes.

"We're not even allowed to ask that question," said Rona Watson, who works for Jackson Hewitt Tax Services in Wilmington, regarding citizenship.

"We practice due diligence so as long as everything appears valid then that is what we are to collect and then if the IRS is to come back with anything the burden of proof is on the customer."

Others were surprised but happy to hear of the sign.

"My initial reaction is good someone is taking the Latino community into consideration," said Lucy Vasquez, who heads up Amigos International.

Vasquez said the sign is a step in the right direction for the Latino community.

"It always helps to have someone speak their language and help them through the process," she said. "That's where the real fear is not the immigration status. I think the sign would help if it said we speak Spanish."

Vasquez said regardless if they're illegal, she feels the sign is a sign that there's a need for service to this specific community.
Bomhan says the tax office helps them do just that, and encourages them to become citizens.

"We do definitely try to push them in that direction to go ahead and get their legal status," she said. "A lot of them are here earning money and sending it to Mexico to help their families back there. Legally, they can claim children or parents that live in Mexico."

The office has a Spanish-speaking tax preparer to help customers who can't speak English.

Bomhan says Liberty Income Tax is one of the few places in town offering this service to workers who want to pay up, despite their immigration status.

"My hat's off to them because they do want to do the right thing," she said. "They could just fly under the radar, I suppose, and never be found and never pay their taxes, but they do pay their taxes, and I think it's something everyone should know."

Bomhan said Liberty Income Tax has no obligation to turn illegal immigrants into ICE.

Our calls made to ICE were not returned.

No agencies look into illegal immigrants filing taxes - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC