Undocumented Workers Pay More Taxes Than Many Companies

A new study estimates that undocumented workers pay more than $11 billion a year in taxes (and would, of course, pay far more if they were given legal status and could come out of the shadow economy). ThinkProgress compares that to General Electric, which paid no taxes in 2010.

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.

But it isn’t just General Electric. More than 10% of the Fortune 500 have managed to pay an effective tax rate of zero in the last few years, including Verizon, Metlife, News Corp, and Seagate.

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  • cswella

    This ought to be fun to post for my conservative relatives.

  • Chiroptera

    Doesn’t dirt pay more taxes than many companies?

  • Pierce R. Butler

    To be fair, News Corp reportedly lost big money in the last few years (gloaty gloat gloat!).

  • keithb

    I think this cannot be stressed too much. If “trickle-down” is to have any credibility at all, the tax breaks given to corporations (the “job creators”) since Reagan should have resulted in improvements in the lower rungs of the corporate ladder. This manifestily did not happen, so we need to raise corporate taxes and do something responsible with the money.

    I just heard today that a majority of bank tellers need public assistance to survive. I could almost understand fast-food workers and Wal-Mart employees being in that situation, but bank tellers?

  • NitricAcid

    Keith- it’s spelled “trickle-on”.

  • Wylann

    And when I was working for them, I personally probably paid more taxes than Boeing. This is not really news. How do we get all those loopholes closed?

  • Trebuchet

    Clearly all you liberals hat the job creators! Or something. (/snark)

  • Trickle Down does work! It just turns out that those at the top are really absorbent. Have faith. Eventually they’ll get saturated.

  • I’ve always said the “they pay no tax” argument is totally bunk. First, most immigrant workers get paid so poorly that income tax would be negligible. Outside of that, they pay sales tax (where applicable). They are usually paying rent, and that money usually is used (or can be seen as being used) to pay the property taxes on the properties they live in.

    Point is, just getting paid under the table doesn’t mean you don’t pay taxes. Getting paid under the table tends to help employers MUCH more than employees

  • eava

    People also ignore that many undocumented immigrants work on the books with duplicate /fake SSNs. They pay payroll and income taxes, but almost never file returns for refunds they’d be entitled to. So many undocumented workers not only pay income taxes, they overpay income taxes and pay into Medicare and SSI but will never collect those benefits.

  • “they overpay income taxes and pay into Medicare and SSI but will never collect those benefits.”

    Which is perfectly fine with the hypocrites that demonize them.