Mass. Urged to Follow States on Tax Credit for Immigrants

Originally published on Boston 25 News.

BOSTON — After about 18,500 tax-paying immigrant families in Massachusetts missed out on some of the direct COVID-19 relief payments from Washington during the pandemic, some advocates and progressive lawmakers want to make sure they don’t continue to lose the benefit of a state tax credit for low-income families because they don’t have a Social Security number.

A coalition of groups, including the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Center, pushed Monday for the Legislature to expand eligibility for the state’s earned income tax credit to cover taxpayers who file with an individual tax identification number, or ITIN.

Immigrants with a range of legal statuses file their taxes each year with an ITIN but do not qualify for the state’s earned income tax credit, which is paired with the federal EITC. These families pay $185 million in state and local taxes each year, according to MIRA.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. Five other states have recently fixed this problem,” said Phineas Baxandall, an analyst with the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

If Massachusetts were to make the switch, it would become the sixth state to qualify non-citizens with individuals’ tax identification numbers for their state EITC, after Colorado, California, Maryland, Washington, and New Mexico.