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I haven’t filed last year’s taxes – what income do I report on the I-864?

Tax season makes filing out the I-864 even more complicated. Here’s a common situation that we see often. It’s February or March. You haven’t yet filed last year’s income taxes. But you also got a bit of a raise, so your “current income” is different than previous tax years. As required, you report the past three years of income tax returns on that I-864… but what should you put for “current income?” Should you report what was listed on last year’s W-2?

Basically there are two option.

 

Option 1 – get your income returns filed.

The best strategy is usually to get your income tax returns filed. In the past we’ve seen Requests for Evidence (RFE) when I-864s are filed around tax season. The reason is that the immigration agency wants to see the most recent income. Remember that it will likely take at least 30 days (often much longer) for the agency to review your I-864. If you file I-864 in February, March or April, there’s a good chance that the agency will review it after “tax day” (April 15th). In that situation the agency may send that I-864 back to you, asking you to redo the I-864 with last year’s income returns. The agency may do this even if they review the I-864 before tax day. So if at all possible I strongly recommend you get those income returns filed, then submit the I-864.

Option 2 – document last year’s income.

Sometime its not realistic to get income returns filed, especially if it’s early in the season (e.g., February). We see this most often with Joint Sponsors, who aren’t as motivated to go through extra hassle for the I-864. The general rule for the I-864 is that “current income” on the I-864 must match the most recent “total income” reported on the I-864. (Read our free I-864 guide for more details on that issue). If there is any difference between those two numbers (e.g., you got a raise) then you need to provide documentation of the new income. The normal way to do this is with 6 months of pay stubs. In the situation we’re discussing you could also use the W-2.

Download our free guide to the I-864

 

Photo credit: Sira Anamwong @ freedigitalphotos.com

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Greg McLawsen

Greg is recognized as the leading national authority on enforcement of the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. Greg represents low-income green card holders in lawsuits to recover support from their sponsors. Practicing family-based immigration law, Greg also focuses on helping married and engaged couples with U.S. immigration.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. I’m about to submit a I-130 for my spouse, but I still have not filed this year’s taxes due to my wife not having a ITIN, can I still submit my I-864 with 2019 taxes as my most current? given that the new deadline has been extended to May 17th.

    1. Hi, Erick:
      You should be okay if filing before the (new) tax deadline. But historically USCIS has sometimes issued Requests for Evidence (RFEs) for filings near Tax Day. You might be better off given the extraordinary delay registering new cases (2-3 months) to just get the ITIN, which shouldn’t take to long. That’s probably what I would do unless there was a specific need to get the I-130 filed (such as adjusting and wanting the temporary EAD as soon as possible).
      Best,
      Greg

  2. My wife who is a us citizen is filing a case for me. My case has been approved and is with nvc at the moment. She is unemployed and does not meet the financial requirement. We need a joint sponsor to co-sign on our case.We need help in finding a joint sponsor. If anyone can help in finding one please reply we will pay for the services. It’s urgent and please reply asap

  3. My joint co sponsor income in 2017 is 65,000 USD and dependents are only four. he had 34000 USD income in 2016, and 10,000 USD in 2015. He has new job now, can he sponsor me. since last two years income is not meeting.

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