Voters have spoken, time for politicians to listen
I am pleased with the letters sent to the editor regarding the results of the midterm election. I agree with what all of them said — that the people have spoken by their vote.
The people want both parties to set aside their personal agenda and work together for the betterment of our country.
People I have talked to want Congress and the states to do the will of the people, which is to provide services needed to get the nation back on its feet. Vaccines need to be developed to cure the children with the spreading RSV virus. Hospitals are filling up, which creates a problem for those who need medial attention. My wife is one of those affected — she could not see a specialist because all of them were busy.
But we cannot stop here, we need to make sure both parties keep their promise.
God has heard our prayers.
We are obligated the Afghanis who helped us
It was August 2021. The U.S. military was withdrawing from Afghanistan, and the Taliban was capturing territory at a frightening pace. It was clear that any Afghans who had aided or sided with the U.S. forces were in immediate danger of bloody retaliation — and their families. Thousands fled for Kabul airport with — at most — a suitcase apiece. They left behind homes, businesses and property; they literally escaped with their lives.
Virtually all of the families who escaped, about 33,000 people, were resettled in the U.S. by the end of 2021. Even though almost none of them had any earnings in 2021, they were advised by the resettlement agencies to file zero income tax returns for 2021 to establish their compliance with U.S. law (helpful for later applications for citizenship). Unfortunately, many of those 2021 tax returns — prepared by legitimate companies like H&R Block — claimed the third Economic Impact Payment as well as the Child Tax Credits. This resulted in very large “refunds” deposited in the refugees’ banks, and the word spread like wildfire within the Afghan community.
U.S. law requires at least 183 days of residency to qualify for those refundable credits, but nowhere on the IRS forms is that made clear, and the IRS has no way to check for residency in their computer processing. So literally millions of dollars in erroneous refunds have been issued. When the problem comes to light during the audit process, it is likely that the credits will be reversed and the families will be required to pay back the funds. Since these people arrived with no money except what the resettlement agencies (and sponsors) provided, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to repay the IRS.
We have two problems:
The erroneous refunds will be a headache for the IRS, and a public relations black eye if IRS demands repayment (as the law requires).
These families, who lost everything because they aided the U.S. military, really deserve to get all the support we can provide. It would be good policy to grant them legal access to these refundable credits. It would also be good politics.
The good news: There is a fairly simple solution. Existing law provides a list of exemptions from the 183-day test. If that code section were amended to provide an exemption for tax year 2021 for the Afghan evacuees, then the refunds already issued would become legitimate; IRS’s problem is solved. And any evacuees whose sponsors (like my church) forbade them to file an incorrect tax return could file amended or late-filed 1040s to claim the credits. A win-win.
The bad news: Despite pleas for help to Sens. Peters and Stabenow and Congressman Kildee, none of our representatives in Washington are willing to sponsor a remedy.
Is it possible that the media can spur action that a private citizen can’t? I pray that’s the case — these families deserve our support. They sacrificed everything to support our troops.
This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Letters to the Editor: Voters have spoken, time for politicians to listen