A bill introduced by Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) could save taxpayers billions by preventing illegal immigrants from claiming tax credits intended for American citizens and legal residents.
Under current law, the Internal Revenue Service allows individuals filing with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to access the child tax credit and the additional child tax credit, allowing those in the country illegally to receive the credits.
"These tax credits were never meant for illegal immigrants," said Kingston. "Closing this loophole is a commonsense measure that will save taxpayers billions. At the same time, it cuts off an incentive for those here illegally. There's been a lot of talk about so-called loopholes on the campaign trail but closing this one is something we can all get behind."
Kingston's bill, the Child Tax Credit Integrity Preservation Act, would require tax filers to provide a valid Social Security number to claim the credits, thereby preventing illegal immigrants from claiming them. A similar requirement is already in place for the earned income credit.
In March 2009, the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration found that ITIN filers were claiming billions of dollars in the child tax credits even though they were not authorized to work in the U.S. The report found that, "payment of Federal Funds through this tax benefit appears to provide an additional incentive for aliens to enter, reside and work in the United States without authorization, which contradicts Federal law and policy to remove such incentives."
Joining Kingston in introducing the legislation is Congressman Lynn A. Westmoreland (R-GA). Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.