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Who is left out of the RELIEF Act and what are lawmakers doing to rectify that

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Posted at 9:12 AM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 18:21:04-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The RELIEF Act has cleared the way for direct stimulus payments to about 400,000 low-to-moderate income state residents who file for Earned Income Tax Credits, however, there are populations that qualify for this credit that will be left out of receiving those funds.

RELATED: Hogan to sign RELIEF Act into law, clearing way for direct payments to Earned Income Tax Credit recipients

One of those populations is immigrant taxpayers.

RELATED: RELIEF Bill helps some unemployment claimants while leaving tax paying undocumented immigrants out

If you're filing with what's called an ITIN or an individual taxpayer identification number, that could be someone that has citizen children, but the parent doesn't have it, or one spouse is here on a visa and then the other spouse needs one to file their return.

Robin McKinney, Co-Founder & CEO of the CASH Campaign of Maryland says that there is a bill currently being considered by the Senate that would be an expansion to the Earned Income Tax Credit and creating a new child tax credit.

The Bill, Senate Bill 218 is scheduled to be on the floor today.

"The other piece of that bill, because it was related to the child tax credit is to help very low income family households. So those who make less than $6,000 and have a child who has a disability, that would give them a $500 credit," McKinney explained. "And so, again, that's just another boost to this very vulnerable population that really needs the support now."

McKinney says what's really important for people to understand about taxpayers, especially taxpayers that are filing with these ITIN numbers is that one, they are paying taxes.

They estimate in Maryland that the immigrant taxpayers are spending are paying $332 million in taxes every year.

"So the fact that we are talking about providing a benefit to the same taxpayers, like that's who they are, they are paying taxes and they deserve the same supports as people just because they have a social security number or an ITIN it's really important," she said. "The other important thing for folks to understand about those who have ITIN's is again, people come to this country for a huge variety of reasons, and one population that we have heard that has been on the rise in terms of ITIN filers, specifically here in Maryland are actually people that have been victims of sex trafficking. "

These are individuals who are already working through a very complex set of issues, immigration being just part of them.

"It's an important really complex issue, but these are our neighbors. These are our friends. These are the people that we go to church with. If we were ever able to see anyone, these are the people that we would see in our community. They are the communities that have also been hit by COVID the hardest, and they deserve our support."

For more information on Senate Bill 218, click here.