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File Your Taxes Jointly

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File your taxes jointly. Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, Missouri and San Diego, California. In today's video, we're talking about taxes. So yesterday, three of our attorneys, myself, my wife, and one other attorney in the office, were talking to different clients about their taxes and we were all surprised to find out that the couple had filed separately. Now, I understand that there can be tax benefits of filing separately, but when you're trying to get an immigration benefit, you don't want to mess around with that, and this is definitely one of those parts of the immigration law where immigrants who make less money than more affluent or richer immigrants get a real short shift. Now, when we have clients who don't have a lot of income, a lot of times they won't have a lot of accounts, and that's a good thing. They're not spending money that they don't have, so they don't have a lot of paperwork.

But the flip side of that, or the negative thing that goes along with that, is that when that happens, the fact that you don't have taxes filed jointly only is heightened. And what I mean by that is that, in the mind of an average immigration officer, they probably think, especially if they're married, that all married people file jointly. And we've had many of cases approved where the couples file separately. But from a purely immigration standpoint, the best thing to do is to file jointly. It might cost you a little bit of money. You might not get as much of a refund as you would like from the IRS, but you're more likely to get your case approved. So you have to ask yourself, "Which is more important, tax refund or paying less taxes or getting my spouse's Green Card approved?" And so I don't want you to play it too cute here.

And so in one of the situations, we're having the clients file an amended return, the other ones they haven't filed yet. So we've been advising them that, from a purely immigration standpoint, you want to make your case like the way that an immigration officer is used to seeing it, and you don't want to file separately. Of course, like I said, it's not fair. People that make more money, have more receipts, they have more proof, and they more likely file jointly because they can afford to. And so you really need to think it through, what's this going to look like when I'm sitting across the officer and they say, "Why did you file separately? Most married couples file together. Why didn't you? Oh, maybe this is evidence of a not real marriage and maybe I need to look at this a little bit harder."

Not to say you can't get it approved if you file it separately. I just think that if you don't have lots of other evidence, this is one more mark in the negative file, one more reason for the immigration officer to say no or to give you more trouble or to sit on your case. And that's what we're always trying to avoid. So hopefully, if you're thinking taxes, you're thinking about filing jointly, and that you're going to perhaps pay a little bit more in tax or not get as big of a refund, but you're going to set yourself up for success and a more likely approval at USCIS. So if you have questions about this, give us a call, (314) 961-8200. You could email us at [email protected] Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. We have about 4,000 or 5,000 people in there and they're answering and asking questions, immigration wise, every single day.

We also have our YouTube channel where you can tune in. I get a new video posting every single day since January of 2020. We'd love to have you subscribe. And then on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have our Immigration Answers Show in the YouTube channel and in the Facebook group. If you have any questions, give us a call. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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