Archive for the ‘literacy’ Category

CRS — Federal Taxation of Aliens Working in the United States

June 26, 2012 Comments off

Federal Taxation of Aliens Working in the United States (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

A question that often arises is whether unauthorized aliens and other foreign nationals working in the United States are subject to U.S. taxes. The federal tax consequences for these individuals are dependent on (a) whether an individual is classified as a resident or nonresident alien and (b) whether a tax treaty or totalization agreement exists between the United States and the individual’s home country.

In general, an individual is a resident alien if he or she is a lawful permanent U.S. resident or is in the United States for a substantial period of time during the current and past two years (the “substantial presence” test). Otherwise, he or she will typically be classified as a nonresident alien. Resident aliens are generally taxed in the same manner as U.S. citizens. Nonresident aliens are subject to different treatment, such as generally being taxed only on income from U.S. sources. Exceptions exist for aliens with specific types of visas or employment.

An individual who is in the country unlawfully is, like any other alien, classified as either a resident or nonresident alien. This classification is for tax purposes only, and it does not affect the individual’s immigration status. These individuals’ eligibility to claim the earned income tax credit is restricted because the tax code requires that taxpayers claiming the credit provide their Social Security number (SSN), as well as those of their spouse and dependents. Unauthorized aliens are ineligible for SSNs, and therefore file their tax returns using an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). In the 112th Congress, legislation has been introduced that would, with some differences, impose an SSN requirement for claiming the additional child tax credit (e.g., H.R. 3630, H.R. 5652, H.R. 3275, and H.R. 1956), for claiming any part of the child tax credit (H.R. 3444 and S. 577), or for claiming any credit or refund (e.g., H.R. 1196). Two of these bills—H.R. 3630 and H.R. 5652—have been passed by the House; however, H.R. 3630 was enacted into law (P.L. 112-96) without the provision.

Finally, the provisions of an income tax treaty or totalization agreement may reduce or eliminate taxes owed to the United States. An income tax treaty is a bilateral agreement between the United States and another country that addresses the income tax treatment of each country’s residents while in the other country, primarily with the intent of reducing the incidence of double taxation. Totalization agreements are bilateral treaties that address social security taxes. In 2004, the United States signed a totalization agreement with Mexico, but it has not yet been transmitted to Congress for review. In the 112th Congress, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 prohibits the Social Security Commissioner or Social Security Administration (SSA) from using any of the funds appropriated by the act to pay compensation to SSA employees to administer Social Security benefit payments under any U.S.-Mexico totalization agreement that would not otherwise be payable. Other legislation has been introduced that would state it is the sense of the House that the U.S.-Mexico totalization agreement “is inappropriate public policy and should not take effect” (H.R. 1196), or address a constitutional issue with the manner in which totalization agreements are disapproved by Congress (S. 181).

Improving Immigrants’ Employment Prospects through Work-Focused Language Instruction

June 18, 2011 Comments off

Improving Immigrants’ Employment Prospects through Work-Focused Language Instruction (PDF)
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Immigrants’ employment prospects depend on their underlying levels of education and technical skills as well as their ability to communicate as needed in the host-country language. Since basic language courses do not impart the host-country language skills necessary for success in the workplace, many governments on both sides of the Atlantic are eager to expand work-focused language training. Yet implementing effective employment-focused language systems is difficult, as policymakers must find ways to design cost-effective programs that are sufficiently tailored to the needs of a wide range of occupations and that take account of immigrants’ underlying literacy skills and their financial and family circumstances. This policy memo explores the different approaches to providing work-focused language training that have developed in Europe and the United States.

Canada — Can Learning Disabilities Explain Low Literacy Performance?

February 26, 2011 Comments off

Can Learning Disabilities Explain Low Literacy Performance? (PDF)
Source: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

The primary purpose of this report is to explore within the Canadian context the relationship between Self-Reported Learning Disabilities (SRLD) and low literacy performance using the Canadian portion of the public data set from the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (IALSS). Two primary research questions related to SRLD were asked: 1) What is the influence of SRLD status on prose literacy scores after controlling for a number of variables known to impact on prose literacy? and 2) Are variables most strongly associated with self-reported LD the same as those for low literacy skill? In answering the first question it was found that a difference of 33 points existed between the mean prose score of those with a SRLD and those without, in favour of those without. However, after controlling for a number of variables known to influence prose literacy the difference fell to approximately 15 points. Results from answering the second question indicate that higher levels of SRLD are present for, but not limited to, those:

  1. in the younger age cohort,
  2. with lower levels of education,
  3. with various co-occurring disabilities, and
  4. who received remedial reading while in school.

Moreover, remedial reading is the variable that most clearly differentiates those who report a LD compared to those who do not. Reporting a LD was predictive of whether remedial services were received and yet when looking at mean prose scores at each literacy level by LD status and Remedial services, little difference in outcomes was observed. The observed trends strongly suggest that both Learning Disability and low literacy should be recognized as being so closely related that differentiating between them given the current state of assessment procedures and intervention strategies is unnecessary and overly burdensome to both individuals and the larger education system as a whole. It needs to be acknowledged that LD is not the only reason for poorly developed reading skills and that it is better to provide assistance to all who need it by tailoring services according to need. This may have significant policy implications regarding the value of identification, diagnosis and funding related to those who meet the current definitional criteria for diagnosis of a Learning Disabilities.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 362 other followers