Cultural Revolutions

A Banana Republic

An IRS publication printed this summer carries an article titled “Information for Employers Paying Wages to Illegal Aliens,” the purpose of which is to provide “a summary of an employer’s responsibility for withholding and reporting of employment taxes on wages paid to illegal aliens.”  “For purposes of this article,” the IRS sagely explains, “an illegal alien is an individual, resident in the United States, who is not a citizen or a lawful permanent resident and who has not been given authorization to work by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly, the Immigration and Naturalization Service).”

“In general,” this useful document continues, employers who pay illegal immigrants wages must withhold income tax and Social Security and Medicare taxes and also pay an amount matching the second two—just as they are required to do in the case of American citizens or lawful permanent residents.  Nonresident and resident-alien workers have a legal obligation to apply for an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is available only to people who do not qualify for a Social Security Number and which does not entitle the recipient either to Social Security benefits or Earned Income Tax Credits, nor “create an inference regarding the individual’s immigration status.”

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