This past month, there was much outrage over the fact that General Electric, despite making $14.2 billion in profits, paid zero U.S. taxes in 2010. General Electric actually received tax credits of $3.2 billion from American taxpayers. At the same time that General Electric was not paying taxes, many undocumented immigrants, who are typically accused of taking advantage of the system while not contributing to it by many on the right, paid $11.2 billion in taxes. A new study by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy shows that undocumented immigrants paid $8.4 billion in sales taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $1.2 billion in personal income taxes last year. The study also estimates that nearly half of all undocumented immigrants pay income taxes.Now, I know this is the Immigration Prof Blog, not the Tax Law Prof Blog. But any kind of professor shouldÂ know that any person or company that paid no taxes in a given year did so because they had losses in the previous year, or deductions.Â This isn't Tax Law 101, it's practically Tax Law 1.
But it's not my purpose to defend GE—they have expensive tax lawyers to do that. (I assume that if there is anything wrong with their tax return, Eric Holder's Justice Department will find it.) I will say that however many taxes illegals pay, they're a net financial liability for the country.
That is, they consume a lot more in services—schools, jails, hospitals, law enforcement, social work, translators, and so on—than they ever pay in taxes. Once again, that's not Immigration 101, it's practically immigration 1.