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California expands tax benefits for immigrants

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2020 | Citizenship

Residents of California should know that the state’s tax laws have been amended. On Sept. 18, Governor Gavin Newsom signed state law AB 1876, which expands earned income tax credit benefits to immigrants in the state. California’s lawmakers have reportedly long believed that immigrants deserve access to all the same benefits as citizens. In crafting and passing this bill, they’ve made it much easier for low-income immigrants to get by in the state.

Earned income tax credit

An earned income tax credit, or EITC, essentially provides a refund of taxes to low-income individuals. It’s available to single people, married couples and families. There’s a federal EITC in the United States, and California has one at the state level too. It’s this California state tax law that’s been affected by AB 1876. As a state with a large immigrant population, California is seeking ways to honor these residents’ contributions and help them adapt to life in the United States.

The role of business closures

Immigrants in low-paying jobs have been disproportionately affected by business closures, social distancing measures and layoffs. Many immigrants to California work in the service industry as dishwashers, waitstaff, custodians and so on. It’s hoped that the state’s expanded EITC law will help these service workers make it through a difficult year.

Immigrants who have questions about how citizenship status will affect them at tax time may want to reach out for help. An experienced immigration attorney may be able to help them understand what their rights and responsibilities are under the law. Credits like the EITC may incentivize more immigrants to file tax returns.