General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why should undocumented (illegal) aliens be required to pay sales tax?

Asked by elbanditoroso (15950 points ) January 2nd, 2012

In a number of states, laws have been passed to deny undocumented people the right to a number of things available to citizens – licensing vehicles, work permits, welfare, and so on and so forth. And aliens cannot vote. Some of these laws are being argued in the courts and some of the details may change. But the bottom line is that illegals are not provided the same benefits that a citizen is. By design.

If that’s the case, why should the illegals – undocumented people – have to pay sales tax? Is that not ‘taxation without representation’?

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26 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

Well yeah, you can’t go to a corner store, say “HiI’m an alien” and have all taxes dropped.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Aren’t sales taxes built in to (almost?) all transactions? Wouldn’t you basically have to spend tons of time proving you aren’t a citizen or have proper documentation? And how would you even do that – it seems that you could prove you are here legally, but not that you aren’t here legally. And just to save a few cents, but in the meantime, mark yourself as a target for the tons of people who see you as less than? I feel like the cure is worse than the disease here.

Blueroses's avatar

You make a good point, however, wouldn’t it be counterproductive to draw attention to yourself if you’re living outside the law?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Because the store they bought it from has to pay sales tax.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Aethelflaed – I agree, it would be an unwise thing to do if the person were an illegal. My point was one of law, not one of practicality or wisdom.

I would imagine that there is some loophole somewhere that makes it ‘right’.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@elbanditoroso I think in order to make it so that undocumented immigrants aren’t being taxed, you have to seriously and drastically change the views on immigration. Right now, it’s a big fucking deal if someone is in America without going through the proper channels (and even then, it’s still a big deal if they aren’t the right type of immigrant), and it would have to be a “no one could possibly care less” issue in order for us to create loopholes that let undocumented immigrants not pay sales tax and not have much more significant downsides to doing that.

nikipedia's avatar

Sales tax is not related to citizenship. Visitors have to pay it too.

bkcunningham's avatar

Actually, they do benefit when they pay sales tax. Depending on what the locality or state uses the tax monies for, they have access to and use infrastructure which is paid for by these tax dollars. Examples would be roadways, street lights, curbing, sidewalks, police, fire departments, rescue personnel and other things I’m sure I could think of.

wilma's avatar

Because they use many public services and utilities that are paid for by taxes, roads, infrastructure, etc.
Also when I visit another country I have to pay their sales tax and I don’t get the benefits that citizens of that country get.
Oh snap @bkcunningham and @nikipedia !

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
zenvelo's avatar

Undocumented workers paid over 11 billion in 2010 to social security, with no benefit to be realized. GE paid $0.00 during the same time frame.

However, undocumented workers realize the benefits of the infrastructure.

bkcunningham's avatar

@zenvelo, how do you, or anyone for that matter, know the amount that illegal workers in the US pay in Social Security taxes?

john65pennington's avatar

Every time I comment on illegal immigrants, I get into trouble on Fluther.

The majoriey already receive free health care at Emergency Rooms, so what else can we give them to encourage more illegal immigrants to cross the border?

How about giving them free gratus to everything in America, like not having to pay sales tax?

Most illegals are already being paid “under the table”, in order to dodge paying income taxes and the threat of being discovered in America illegaly.

In Tennessee, everyone(yes, including the illegals)are being forced to show a photo ID, if they want to vote in the upcoming elections in my state. This is causing havoc among the illegals and you can guess why. Why should they be able to vote, if they are not U.S. citizens? It will be interesting to see how this plays out in court.

Of course the illegal immigrants should pay taxes. It’s the least they can do.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
JLeslie's avatar

Some great answers above.

Sales tax is basically passed onto the consumer, the business pays the tax into the government. Since illegal aliens don’t have a tax exempt card the burden of paying the tax would be placed on the business for what the illegal alien purchased. America, as far as I know does not have anyway to file to get sales tax back for visitors like some European countries do, and I think Canada, to get VAT back.

I don’t see how someone illegally in the country can ask not to pay tax? They are trying to stay under the radar remember?

Illegal aliens are actually counted in the census and represented in congress, even though they do not vote (or at least not legally) and as many above pointed out they use the infrastructure. They us federally funded infrastructure also an most do not pay into the IRS, although some do with illegal social security numbers, and they never reap the benefit of having paid into the SS system.

judochop's avatar

Does this mean that I am excluded from taxes if I visit another country?

mazingerz88's avatar

I think illegals should also pay “illegal alien tax” in addition to all other taxes citizens may have to pay.~

Taxes benefit everybody, period. I also believe that hardworking illegal aliens should be given a path to legality so they could pay their share of taxes and share of benefits for paying it.

JLeslie's avatar

@judochop You can get the tax/VAT back from some European countries and Canada as I mentioned above, but you have to have been legally a visitor and meet certain requirements regarding length of stay.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@mazingerz88 – so assume for a moment that I agree with you.

So what is the exchange for the illegal alien tax? What rights does the illegal alien have in exchange for paying that targeted tax?

And if you are charging an ‘illegal alien tax’, haven’t you just recognized that these people are official? (Official enough to identify and to force to pay taxes). So your concept is essentially making illegal aliens a legal entity (with access to the court system) because they would be subject to rules, recourse, and appeals from taxation.

It seems to me that your idea would accomplish the exact OPPOSITE of what you want it to,

zenvelo's avatar

@bkcunningham There have been studies/estimates by Standard and Poors, the Congressional Budget Office (which is non-partisan) and various academics on the costs and benefits of undocumented workers. They’ve shown an increasing amount in taxes paid each year.

Here’s a recent article.

There is a lot of similar information from papers such as USA Today and NY Daily News.

wundayatta's avatar

Seems to me that people should have to follow the legitimate laws and pay the legitimate taxes of the state regardless of whether they can show proper residency or citizenship documentation or not.

mazingerz88's avatar

@elbanditoroso I was being facetious but assuming I wasn’t. The exchange was addressed in one of the posts above. There are reasons why people come and stay illegally. Let’s just say that taxes, whatever kind they are, make all this attractive reasons possible? The brunt really should not be on the taxing entity since illegals are not suppose to establish root in the first place, imo.

marinelife's avatar

Because they were not asked to come to this country.

If they come, illegally, they owe it to the country to pay taxes.

Because if they didn’t, they would have to say they were illegal.

rooeytoo's avatar

@john65pennington – this must be the __other__ fluther answering this question, no one is arguing with you. In fact most, including myself, seem to be agreeing although with different words. I gave you a ga.

When I moved to Australia, I came in legitimately. I had money in the bank, provided my own health care and wanted to be a productive citizen. However I was not allowed to work or study. But I still paid the GST on everything I purchased. And It cost me a fortune with immigration agents, etc. to be granted permanent residency.

Why should someone who sneaks in the back door like a criminal get better treatment than a legitimate immigrant. Asylum seekers are a whole nother kettle of fish!

bkcunningham's avatar

@zenvelo, thanks. I have never heard of the Social Security Administration notifying an employer that an employee’s name and number don’t match. Don’t misunderstand. I do realize that people lie and game the system. I realize illegals pay payroll and other taxes. I could never understand how people say they can be counted to the tune of 7 to 13 million (the various numbers I’ve seen of) illegals and the ICE isn’t busier with deportations. It’s always been my belief that the SS taxes was one of the reasons there hasn’t been more done to stop illegal immigration in America.

This is interesting too. The no match from the SSA was in place for about two years and is now a go again. Makes me still wonder about the numbers for illegals in America.: http://www.employerlawreport.com/2011/04/articles/immigration/ssa-resumes-social-security-number-nomatch-letter-program/#axzz1iOpcCL49

“In 2007, the Department of Homeland Security published a proposed regulation to address a variety of no-match situations, including both Social Security Administration- and Department of Homeland Security-related notifications. The regulation provided various timelines and “safe-harbor” provisions for employers to follow after receiving a no-match letter. Soon after DHS published the regulation, a U.S. District Court in California preliminarily enjoined its implementation. DHS eventually withdrew the regulation in 2009 and explained that it was going to pursue other enforcement programs to verify the nation’s workforce. The ensuing piecemeal implementation of the “voluntary” E-Verify program and increased worksite investigations have shown that DHS has not walked away from the issue.”

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