Monthly Archives: October 2013

Immigrant Tax Alert – Tax Scam Targets Immigrants

Blog By: Coleman Jackson, PC

Immigration & Tax Law Firm

Firm Site www.cjacksonlaw.com

 

October 31, 2013

Today the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) warned of an insidious, sophisticated telephone tax scam targeting consumers (immigrants and recent arrivals to the United States may be particularly besieged), throughout the United States.  The IRS described the fraudulent activities in Issue Number:  IR-2013-84 as follows:

“Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.”

The IRS further described the current tax scam as follows:

“Other characteristics of this scam include:

  • Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
  • Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
  • Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
  • Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
  • Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.

After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.”

Immigrants are particularly vulnerable.  They are in a new land and may be very unfamiliar with the tax laws, tax collection practices and taxing policies of the federal, state and local government.  They may not even be familiar with all of the various taxing authorities.  Immigrants must be especially vigilant and on the alert for tax scams.  But they also must be aware that, in the United States, there are various governmental units who might be charged with assessing and collecting various types of legitimate taxes.  Every communication that may be received concerning a tax issue is not a scam.

Taxing authorities do not ask for personal information such as social security numbers, banking account information and other personal data over the phone, through social media or via tech messaging  or instant messaging or through electronic mail to taxpayers.   If you receive communications through these media you should immediately be on high tax alert.  It would be very unusual for either the federal, state or local government to ask for personal confidential information through these media.  Government correspondence will typically be mailed to you using the United States Postal Service.    The mail will typically be sent to your last known residential address or business address.  If the mail is received anywhere else or otherwise looks suspicious, be on high tax alert.  If you receive information requests through these types of media or other suspicious circumstances, you should be extremely careful.  Consider these guidelines:

DON’TS:

  1. Never give out personal information, such as, your social security number, or bank account details in response to telephone request, emails, texts or social media requests;
  2. Never agree to meet with the caller in person at the instruction of the caller;
  3. Never pay an alleged tax debt with cash at the instruction of the caller;
  4. Never wire transfer any money to the caller or by instruction of the caller;
  5. Never turn over anything else of value to the caller or anyone else as instructed by the caller;

DO’S:

  1. Contact  directly the federal, state or local governmental authorities and report the incident-
    1. Federal Tax Issues—call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484;
    2. State Tax Issues—  in Texas, call the Texas Comptroller’s Office at  1-800-252-5555 (Sales & Use Tax Issues) or 1-800-252-1381 for (Franchise Tax Issues);
    3. Local Tax Issues— call your city or county tax collector; in Dallas County call 1-214-653-7811.  Call the county tax office where you reside with any questions regarding local tax issues, such as, property taxes.

If you are still confused after contacting the federal, state or local governmental authorities or you just don’t know what to do, contact a tax attorney.  You might also be able to get some guidance from local non-profit organizations, churches and other institutions.  Some area law schools may have tax clinics available for immigrant taxpayers.

Bottom line, as an immigrant taxpayer in America, you do not have to suffer tax harassment in silence or under individual or community siege.  Reach out as we have outlined above to seek help when you suspect that you, your family or community are victims of tax scams.

This blog is written to inform and for educational purposes only.  It is not given as legal advice and does not create an attorney client relationship.  You should consult an attorney for any particular matter pertaining to your facts and circumstances.

COLEMAN JACKSON, P.C.

Immigration & Tax Law Firm

6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 443

Dallas, Texas 75206

Office Phone:  (214) 599-0431 (English)   (214) 599-0432 (Spanish)

Exception to the Two Year Custody and Two Year Residency Requirements for Abused Adopted Children

Coleman Jackson, Esq.
Immigration Attorney
Oct 02, 2013

Adopted Abused Child

Before the 2005 amendments to Section 101(b)(1)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), to file a self-petition for immigration to the United States of America, adopted alien children were required to demonstrate that they had completed two years of legal custody and residence with the United States citizen or lawful permanent resident adoptive parent. There weren’t any exceptions even if those adoptive parents were abusive to the adopted child. Due to this, abused adopted children were required to remain in the abusive household for at least two years.

Section 805(d) of VAWA 2005 eliminated these two requirements (2 years legal custody and 2 years residence) in amending the definition of an adopted child under INA section 101(b)(1)(E)(i) for a child who has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by the adoptive parent or by household family members of the adoptive parent.

The 2005 VAWA changes allow abused adopted children to leave an abusive household without adversely affecting their eligibility to file a VAWA self-petition. The abused child submits a petition for classification as a lawful permanent resident under INA section 204. The child still must show a valid adoption and that (s)he shared a residence for some period of time with the abusive adoptive parent.

For confidential advice and thorough assistance in specific abusive situations consult an experienced Immigration Attorney.
A self-petition by an abused child must satisfy the following requirements:

Removal of 2 Year Legal Custody and 2 Year Residency Requirement

Removal of 2 Year Legal Custody and 2 Year Residency RequirementGenerally, to obtain immigration benefits by adoption, the petitioner must submit credible evidence to establish eligibility of an adopted child under INA sections 201(b)(2)(A)(i) or 203(a)(2)(A):

  • A legal adoption took place. That is, the adoption is completed before the adopted child’s 16th birthday (or 18th if the child is the birth sibling of another child 16 or under who was adopted by the same adoptive parent at the same time)
  • The adoptive parent(s) had two years of legal custody, and two years of residence with the child.

However, section 805(d) of VAWA 2005 amended INA section 101(b)(1)(E)(i). The 2005 amendments to the Violence Against Women’s Act removed the two year legal custody and the two year residency requirement for adopted children who were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by their adoptive parent(s) or household family members.

Applicability of 101(b)(1)(E)(i)

Applicability of 101(b)(1)(E)(i)The amendment to 101(b)(1)(E) is applicable to a child who is the beneficiary of a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and to the self-petitioning child filing a VAWA-based Form I-360, Petition for American, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant.

If the self-petitioning child demonstrates that he or she was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by the adoptive parent or by member(s) of the adoptive parent’s household, then in this type of case, the child is not required to establish two years legal custody and two years residency with the adoptive parent.

Eligibility Requirements

Self-Petitioning Child of Abusive USCs and LPRs (Generally)

INA section 204 allows for alien children of abusive U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to self-petition for classification as lawful permanent residents (Green Card). The child self-petitioner is required to provide evidence that (s)he:

  • Is the child of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Is eligible to be classified under INA section 201(b)(2)(A)(i) or 203(a)(2)(A)
  • Resides or has resided with the abusive U.S. citizen or abusive lawful permanent resident parent
  • Has been battered by or has been subjected to extreme cruelty perpetrated by the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent or member of their household
  • Is a person of good moral character

Self-Petitioning Adopted Child of Abusive USCs and LPRs

The VAWA 2005 amendments to the definition of an adopted child (i.e., the removal of the two year custody and two year residency requirements for abused adopted children) do not remove the need for adopted children to establish all other requirements for self-petitioning children under INA section 204. The self-petitioning adopted child is required to provide evidence demonstrating that (s)he:

  • Was legally adopted before attaining age 16, or before attaining age 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another child who was adopted by the same adoptive parent
  • Was legally adopted by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or that his or her adoptive parent is legally married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Resided for some period with the abusive U.S. citizen or abusive lawful permanent resident
  • Was battered by or subjected to extreme cruelty perpetrated by the U.S. citizen parent or lawful permanent resident parent or a member of the U.S. citizen’s or lawful permanent resident’s family residing in the same household
  • Is a person of good moral character

Filing from Outside the United States

Abused Child Self-petition Filing from Outside the United StatesThere is no statutory requirement that a self-petitioning adopted child be living in the United States at the time the self-petition is filed. The filing requirements found in INA sections 204(a)(1)(A)(v) and 204(a)(1)(B)(iv) relating to a self-petitioning spouse, intended spouse, or child living abroad of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident shall be applicable to self-petitions filed by an abused adopted child.

Late-filing After Age 21

Abused Child Self-petition Late-filing After Age 21The provisions of INA section 204(a)(1)(D)(v) which provide continued eligibility to file as a self-petitioning child after attaining age 21, if the abuse was one central reason for the delay in filing, shall be applicable to self-petitions filed by an abused adopted child.

Evidence

Standard of Proof

Self-petition Proof StandardThe standard of proof applied in the adjudication of a self-petition filed by an abused adopted child is “preponderance of the evidence”. This evidentiary standard is met if the self-petitioning child submits sufficient evidence to establish that the facts of the case are more likely true than not true.

Evidentiary Requirements

Evidentiary Requirements for self-petition by abused childA copy of the legal adoption decree issued by the appropriate civil authority, or other relevant credible evidence of the self-petitioning child’s legal relationship to the abuser should be submitted with the I-360. If a copy of the legal adoption is unavailable, the self-petitioning adopted child should provide any other credible evidence to demonstrate that a legal adoption took place. Additionally, the self-petitioning adopted child must provide credible evidence demonstrating the following:

  • Some period of shared residence with the abusive parent
  • The self-petitioning child’s good moral character, if age 14 and over
  • The battery and/or extreme cruelty perpetrated by the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent or perpetrated by a member of that parent’s family residing in the same household
  • The abuser’s U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status

Consideration of Evidence

United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicators will consider all relevant, credible evidence when making a determination regarding claims to all eligibility requirements. The determination of what evidence is credible and the weight to be given that evidence is within the sole discretion of USCIS.

This blog is written by
Coleman Jackson, PC | Immigration & Tax Law Firm. www.cjacksonlaw.com | 214-599-0431(English) | 214-599-0432(Spanish)