Sunday, September 30, 2007

Individual Tax Identification Number

It's safe to say that anyone reading this who isn't an illegal resident or knows someone who is doesn't know what an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) is right ? Well no matter what your residence status maybe be here in the states, the government will accept your money whether your from another country or another planet. An ITIN is a number issued by the internal revenue service (IRS) to people who have to pay taxes in some form or another and don't have a social security number. Basically that's what they are a government issued number that allows you to pay taxes if you own your own business or because like most immigrants think, it will help you become a citizen down the line because your paying taxes. Well that has and never will be the case because in the end all the government is concerned about is getting its fair share of a persons profit, legal or not. Wikipedia has it that in 2006 1.4 million people filled taxes with an ITIN, 1.4 million people that's insane in the membrane yo. Yet they're all people who have come to the states with nothing but some clothes and a dream. A dream to be American and to open and own their own store not working for anyone but themselves and their families. I know this because my father has been doing this for as long as I can remember. He may not have always had the ITIN, but in some shape or form he, like all Americans paid taxes. Now this issue of paying taxes has come up in my life many a time, but because I don't make enough money to file taxes so I never really bothered. However having a job changes things, adding to that was the fact that I opened a bank account. This is possible thanks to the Mexican Consulate I.D. card immigrants can attain at the Mexican consulate. To get it you go to the consulate, bring you birth certificate and two forms of I.D. and proof of your current address. From there the card is literally given to you in the span of one to two hours on the spot. I have one of course and the picture of me there was when I was 200 lbs bigger and way ugly looking. The card is a legal government issued I.D. so I'm allowed to go into federal buildings, clubs that have bouncers that know what the card is and use it like you would your regular I.D. Some banks accept the I.D. to open bank accounts and with a combination of the ITIN, take out loans and get credit cards. The cards extent even goes as far as being able to purchase a house and cars. Any who apparently I need an ITIN to keep my back account so the government doesn't take away any of my hard earned money. I can just close the account and forget about it but something interesting came up in deciding what to do, there's a chance I can get back the money I paid for my schooling, which is a considerable amount at $ 250. I'm going to call the IRS and ask what the specific qualifications are and see if I can qualify for the exception that is stated on their website. There would be no real repercussions in doing this because the IRS doesn't disclose information on people with ITINS to the gov so it's all good. Having an ITIN is no big deal but it was something my father always stressed me to get, even if I didn't need it, use it or qualified for it. To him I just had to get it because he figures it'll look good if you pay taxes while still illegal. I still haven't called them up and found out what's the delio or even went to the bank to talk to them, even though I should A.S.A.P. For now I'll just think about the repercussions of having to attain an ITIN will have in my life good and bad. Just think about it, the government will know more about me if I get the ITIN, not that's it's a bad thing, it's just I'm shy like that.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Getting A Higher Education

With school staring for me next week I thought maybe I should explain how immigrants, like myself, are able to attend colleges, universities and other institutions for higher learning. First of anyone can attend these school's meeting the proper qualifications, but immigrants don't have to pay out of state fee's like other's thanks in part to the California Assembly bill 540, which let's us pay California resident fees. Out of state students pay around 180 $ per unite, while we get to pay 20 $ per unite, significant difference no ? but that's at the community college level, higher up the prices depend on what school your attending. AB 540 students are those who have attended a California high school for more than three years and graduated. Upon enrollment at a college students are asked to sign a "contract" that states that the signer will apply or is in the process of legalizing their immigration status. Obviously we don't qualify for fee waivers or gov aide so some of us make do with scholarships that don't question residency,family and of course work. Books are always a pain in the ass because they're so expensive and when you have a home to keep, suddenly spending 100 $ plus dollars isn't easy, needless to say we have to save up for the upcoming semester weeks in advance, like I did. Also the number of classes and what classes enrolled one is enrolled changes things as well. I myself am enrolled in two Honors classes this semesters, Philosophy and Humanities so I don't know what to expect and I've been saving up for the last two pay checks. For me there's also this gratifying feeling knowing that I'm paying for everything on my own straight up cash baby girl. I've only had one semester in which my parents paid for my classes and that was because I didn't have a job at the time, other than that everything has been all me. Going to school is necessary for us because we have to prove our worth to this country and society. We have to be productive members of our communities because if we don't help each other, other's wont and they'll do their best to keep us down and uneducated. School starts on Wednesday for me and I cannot wait for it because the possibilities of meeting new people, mostly girls, is extremely high and with all this new found self confidence that comes from having a stable job that puts money in my pocket, I'm going to make things happen. In fact I'm on the schools newspaper staff, but because I put my foot in my mouth and started shit in all the wrong places, that's now up in the air. I'm hoping she can forgive me for being a stupid ass and allow me to stay, but if she doesn't I fully understand her decision. Even though I cause trouble everywhere I go, I know being able to attend an institution of higher learning is a privilege, one that I fully take advantage of. I see other students who have free rides getting their classes and books paid for and even getting spending money from federal grants all so they can go to school, yet all the do is waste their time drifting trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives all the while complaining that they're stuck in the ghetto and how they'll never get out. All I complain about is the decrepit conditions the school I'm attending, East Los Angeles College, is in as it falls apart from being so old (Est. 1945) I'll make do with what I have and make the best of, after all I came up through the Los Angeles Unified School District.