Jump to content
GuidedbyGODkatval

Should I hire an immigration lawyer or not?

24 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts

I am getting ready to file n400 but I am thinking if I should hire a lawyer to help me better with my case. I know they will need 3 years of tax return. But on one of my tax return, I filed as single. Single with no dependent. My mother in law claimed my daughter and husband since she was supporting us. I am not required to file on that year because my income was below 3000. I just filed to get my withholding tax back. When I ask the tax preparer to amend it, she said it doesnt have to because I didnt claim my husband and daughter and I disnt owe anything. Now I am worried that they might question my giling status. I can provide them strong evidences such as bank accounts, mortgage and bills both on our names. Has anyone ever experience this before?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Besides USCIS concerns, you will have big problem for filing tax single when you are married.


N400

12/06/2014: Package filed

12/31/2014: Fingerprinted

02/06/2015: In-Line for Interview

04/15/2015: Passed Interview

05/05/2015: Oath letter was sent

05/22/2015: Oath Ceremony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can't file as single when you are married.

You basically provided false information on a tax form in order to pay the government less than you actually owed.

This can affect your application in two ways. First USCIS uses the 3 years of tax history to verify that you and your spouse had joint finances. Secondly lying to get out of paying taxes can affect the good moral character requirement for naturalization.

My recommendation is to immediately amend your return for that year and pay the extra amount you owe. You don't need a lawyer but you need to fix your tax problem before you apply.


For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can't file as single when you are married.

You basically provided false information on a tax form in order to pay the government less than you actually owed.

This can affect your application in two ways. First USCIS uses the 3 years of tax history to verify that you and your spouse had joint finances. Secondly lying to get out of paying taxes can affect the good moral character requirement for naturalization.

My recommendation is to immediately amend your return for that year and pay the extra amount you owe. You don't need a lawyer but you need to fix your tax problem before you apply.

According to the tax brackets for the 2012 tax year, with the income less than $3000 her tax amount wouldn't change.

Being married she could absolutely choose the option Married Filing Separately which is 10% on the income less than $8700. Same applies for unmarried individual (filing as Single) - 10% on the taxable income less than $8700. As a payroll practitioner I saw many people - even native-born Americans - are often get confused when indicating tax filing status.

So I would argue whether or not she owes more. Every couple plans their finances in their own way and has a right to choose whether to file jointly or separately.

Another question is whether USCIS requires American spouses-sponsors and their foreign spouses to always file jointly until the foreign spouse gets naturalized... I dont' know.

Also, the issue might be in how she presented her status. In this case, it should have been Married (whether jointly or separately), but not Single.

If this will raise a big concern on USCIS side she can explain that it didnt intend to be for the purpose of lowering tax...Because again, she had an option to file Married - separately. And she could have thought it's the same.

But if I were you I would try to first consult a lawyer that has seen similar cases before and, as JImmyHou suggested, try to amend the 2012 for the purpose of correcting the status.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly what the tax preparer when I was amending my 2012. She said it wouldnt make any difference if I change my status because my income was only 3000 and claimed nobody. The only issue here is I filed as single. But in case vmcan I still amend the 2012 or its too late to do that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to the tax brackets for the 2012 tax year, with the income less than $3000 her tax amount wouldn't change.

Being married she could absolutely choose the option Married Filing Separately which is 10% on the income less than $8700. Same applies for unmarried individual (filing as Single) - 10% on the taxable income less than $8700. As a payroll practitioner I saw many people - even native-born Americans - are often get confused when indicating tax filing status.

So I would argue whether or not she owes more. Every couple plans their finances in their own way and has a right to choose whether to file jointly or separately.

Another question is whether USCIS requires American spouses-sponsors and their foreign spouses to always file jointly until the foreign spouse gets naturalized... I dont' know.

Also, the issue might be in how she presented her status. In this case, it should have been Married (whether jointly or separately), but not Single.

If this will raise a big concern on USCIS side she can explain that it didnt intend to be for the purpose of lowering tax...Because again, she had an option to file Married - separately. And she could have thought it's the same.

But if I were you I would try to first consult a lawyer that has seen similar cases before and, as JImmyHou suggested, try to amend the 2012 for the purpose of correcting the status.

The OP provided false information on a tax form by filing as single. That is not legal.

Any couple can file jointly or separately regardless of immigration status. They just have to file as married.

Edited by JimmyHou

For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cant amend the 2012 already. And no i dont owe anything because I didnt claim my husband and daughter. I wouldnt owe them even if I amended ut before. The only thing thats gonna change is the status.

If I were in your place I would amend the return to correct the filing status. You asked if it's possible to do that... it should be... but I'm not sure.

Edited by JimmyHou

For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly what the tax preparer when I was amending my 2012. She said it wouldnt make any difference if I change my status because my income was only 3000 and claimed nobody. The only issue here is I filed as single. But in case vmcan I still amend the 2012 or its too late to do that?

It's not late, but do it asap. I know people that in 2015 amended their 2010 return. Besides, by the time you get into your interview you will have a proof of the corrected tax return.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To answer your original question which nobody seems to read, NO, I wouldn't hire a lawyer for this, if you want to hire someone, hire an accountant to fix your tax filing status. On a different note, don't get freaked about by members "scary" answers here, accusing you of lying and such when you and your accountant made a mistake. Chances are that even if you don't make any changes, USCIS won't even notice, but you obviously want to be on the safe side and get this corrected.

I also would like to point out that some members here are an excellent resource of information and are very helpful with that, but they seem to only see things black/white and are quick to give some unnecessary and overly harsh answers. Most ppl come to this forum with good intentions (such as the OP on this thread) and looking for assistance, not judgment and accusations.

Edited by lexrj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can't file as single when you are married.

You basically provided false information on a tax form in order to pay the government less than you actually owed.

This can affect your application in two ways. First USCIS uses the 3 years of tax history to verify that you and your spouse had joint finances. Secondly lying to get out of paying taxes can affect the good moral character requirement for naturalization.

My recommendation is to immediately amend your return for that year and pay the extra amount you owe. You don't need a lawyer but you need to fix your tax problem before you apply.

To answer your original question which nobody seems to read, NO, I wouldn't hire a lawyer for this, if you want to hire someone, hire an accountant to fix your tax filing status. On a different note, don't get freaked about by members "scary" answers here, accusing you of lying and such when you and your accountant made a mistake. Chances are that even if you don't make any changes, USCIS won't even notice, but you obviously won't to be on the safe side and get this corrected.

I also would like to point out that some members here are an excellent resource of information and are very helpful with that, but they seem to only see things black/white and are quick to give some unnecessary and overly harsh answers. Most ppl come to this forum with good intentions (such as the OP on this thread) and looking for assistance, not judgment and accusations.

1) Some of us DID read and answer the original question about needing a lawyer.

2) Some of us pointed out the FACT not an accusation that OP provided false information on a tax form. We pointed out the FACT that this is illegal and told the OP how it can be easily fixed. I also pointed out that there could be an issue with GMC because there's a possibility that an interviewer may interpret a "mistake" as a "lie". USCIS interviewers are not trained to assume everyone has good intentions. Again, this issue is easily fixed.

3) Your point about tone is valid... we can start every post with "don't worry" or "it'll all be alright". There's no harm at all in doing that and it might make people feel better, but I'm not very good at it so I'll leave it to others.

I think it's a little dangerous to give advice about what may or may not be noticed by USCIS, but apart from that, good advice for the OP in your post.

Edited by JimmyHou

For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much. Just an additional information, I talked to a friend whose brother is working as an interviewer at the immigration. And she said that the tax is not gonna be a problem. But I dont know. Reading all the comments, I think I will just amend my 2012 tax. Do I still have the time? Actually my 2013 tax was also amended because of the filing status. On the 2013 tax I filed originally as head of household then amended it to filing married jointly. We ended up owing the IRS but we are on a payment plan now. 2014 tax is all fine because this time we did it correctly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To answer your original question which nobody seems to read, NO, I wouldn't hire a lawyer for this, if you want to hire someone, hire an accountant to fix your tax filing status. On a different note, don't get freaked about by members "scary" answers here, accusing you of lying and such when you and your accountant made a mistake. Chances are that even if you don't make any changes, USCIS won't even notice, but you obviously want to be on the safe side and get this corrected.

I also would like to point out that some members here are an excellent resource of information and are very helpful with that, but they seem to only see things black/white and are quick to give some unnecessary and overly harsh answers. Most ppl come to this forum with good intentions (such as the OP on this thread) and looking for assistance, not judgment and accusations.

What you're saying - makes sense and I agree with some of your points. But VJ is not an reliable source for immigration related questions. People can't say for sure that this or that will help in a particular scenario. We do, however, express our opinions on how we would act if we were in the same situation. And "scary answers" are simply "alerting" answers based on what we've heard or experienced...

Yes, some people would not necessarily hire a lawyer but at least get a free consultation to find out how risky her situation can be. And note, the OP might not even fully disclose all the details (which is her right of course).

We all suggested to amend the return which is the best option...As far as legal assistance, no one recommends to hire a lawyer all the way through...But instead of us guessing what might happen with her application before or after she corrects the return there can a be an attorney out there who actually handled similar case and knows the actual outcomes.

I'm reading through posts on VJ from 2006...Amazing stories..Some people get through with convictions, priorly stated false information, and some don't. But that's why we're here to say what may or may not happen, what you may or may not want to do.

Edited by olna83

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much. Just an additional information, I talked to a friend whose brother is working as an interviewer at the immigration. And she said that the tax is not gonna be a problem. But I dont know. Reading all the comments, I think I will just amend my 2012 tax. Do I still have the time? Actually my 2013 tax was also amended because of the filing status. On the 2013 tax I filed originally as head of household then amended it to filing married jointly. We ended up owing the IRS but we are on a payment plan now. 2014 tax is all fine because this time we did it correctly.

You still have time to amend it. And you could be absolutely right, it might not even be an issue. I'd say better to be safe than sorry. But after all it's up to you to decide.

best of luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
Didn't find the answer you were looking for? Ask our VJ Immigration Lawyers.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
- Back to Top -


Important Disclaimer: Please read carefully the Visajourney.com Terms of Service. If you do not agree to the Terms of Service you should not access or view any page (including this page) on VisaJourney.com. Answers and comments provided on Visajourney.com Forums are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Visajourney.com does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. VisaJourney.com does not condone immigration fraud in any way, shape or manner. VisaJourney.com recommends that if any member or user knows directly of someone involved in fraudulent or illegal activity, that they report such activity directly to the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You can contact ICE via email at Immigration.Reply@dhs.gov or you can telephone ICE at 1-866-347-2423. All reported threads/posts containing reference to immigration fraud or illegal activities will be removed from this board. If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by contacting us here with a url link to that content. Thank you.
×