City Councilor Kenzie Bok (District 8) urged her colleagues to support an act recently filed that would provide equal stimulus checks to immigrant taxpayers. Despite paying an equal amount of taxes through the use of an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), many immigrant taxpayers have been left out of recovery reliefs during the pandemic.
In late March, the federal government issued stimulus checks under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. However, taxpayers without a Social Security Number (SSN) or families with mixed immigration status were excluded from receiving the federal “recovery rebate.” Most of these individuals are also deemed ineligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI).
Under the bill filed by Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representatives Christine Barber and Tricia Farley-Bouvier, immigrant residents who paid 2019 Massachusetts taxes, but were unable to collect a federal stimulus check, would receive stimulus checks from the state’s Department of Revenue. The amount for each check would be $1,200 for each individual, $2,400 for joint tax filers, plus $500 for each qualifying child.
According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, approximately 57,000 Massachusetts residents live in a household with an ITIN filer. To provide assistance that would fill the gaps left by federal relief programs to these residents would cost about $58 million.