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Can I Apply for Citizenship If I Owe Back Taxes?

Let’s say that you have been a law-abiding permanent U.S. resident for several years, and now you plan to apply for naturalization. There is only one problem: you owe back taxes. Can this bar you from citizenship?

While you can still apply for citizenship with back taxes, you will need a solid payment plan—and reliable legal help. Attorney Ahmad Yakzan of the American Dream® Law Office in Tampa, FL, explains below how complying with federal and state tax requirements influences naturalization.

“Good Moral Character” and Your Taxes

To acquire U.S. citizenship, you must show “good moral character” throughout a set period of time while residing in the U.S (typically 3-5 years). Paying your taxes is one of the “good moral character” requirements.

Form N-400, the USCIS Naturalization Application, asks about any relevant tax paid and taxes you owe. Not paying your taxes can stand in your way to citizenship.

What To Do If You Owe Back Taxes

If you can’t pay all your back taxes at once, you can cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to work out a payment plan, aka installment agreement, which involves:

  • Filing your tax return
  • Requesting a payment plan by completing the relevant forms
  • Making regular payments according to the agreement’s terms

Your specific payment plan will depend on how much you owe. While comparatively small balances (under $10,000) typically get automatic approval for installment agreements, larger debts may require you to disclose information about your income, expenses, and personal property. People who owe more than $50,000 may need to sell some of their assets to discharge tax debts.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help You Apply for Citizenship With Back Taxes

Does your inability to pay back taxes threaten to throw a wrench into your naturalization process? Working with a tax consultant and an experienced immigration attorney can help you get approved for citizenship despite your tax difficulties.

An immigration lawyer can:

  • Write a convincing letter to go with your N-400 form and explain why you still count as a resident of “good moral character” even though you owe back taxes
  • Help you showcase that you’re following an IRS-approved payment plan
  • Present evidence that supports your moral character, e.g., documents that show your volunteering activity or involvement in the community
  • Make sure your application for citizenship complies with all USCIS requirements

American Dream® Law Office: Helping You on Your Way to Naturalization

Owing back taxes can complicate your naturalization process, even if you have otherwise perfect public records. If you plan to apply for citizenship but cannot pay your taxes on time, contact the American Dream® Law Office in Tampa, FL. Attorney Ahmad Yakzan and the rest of our experienced legal team will help you navigate the difficulties of citizenship with back taxes.

Schedule a strategy session online, call (888) 991-3336, or enter your email address and details in our contact form, and we’ll get back to you shortly.

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