When applying for a green card, how do I submit my tax return to USCIS?

Question: I am a U.S. citizen. I’m applying for my wife to adjust status and obtain a green card. I know I have to submit my most recent year’s tax return, but my tax return is over 100 pages long. Do I have to submit the entire tax return?

Answer: Yes. But instead of a regular tax return (Form 1040), you can submit a much shorter Tax Return Transcript.

When a U.S. citizen petitions for a foreign relative beneficiary to adjust status in the U.S., the parties have to prove that the petitioner’s income is sufficient to support the beneficiary. To do so, the parties must submit the petitioner’s federal individual income tax return for the most recent year.

Tax returns can be very long

The problem is, tax returns can sometimes be 100 pages in length. Individual tax returns include Form 1040 and all accompanying schedules and forms. For immigration purposes, it is insufficient to submit Form 1040 without the accompanying schedules. Also, simply providing USCIS with a Form 1040 is not proof that you actually filed the same Form 1040 with the IRS.

USCIS prefers receiving Tax Return Transcripts

The better option is to submit the petitioner’s Tax Return Transcript. Using a Tax Return Transcript has several advantages. First, it is only 4 to 5 pages long. Second, a Tax Return Transcript is proof that you actually filed your taxes with the IRS. Finally, you can download your Tax Return Transcript directly from the IRS’s website. Submitting a Tax Return Transcript will be easier for you and will also help USCIS process your application more efficiently.

How can I download a Tax Return Transcript? 

You can download a copy of your Tax Return Transcript directly from the IRS’s website. The steps are: 

  • Visit https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript  
  • Input information about yourself, including your full name, Social Security Number, filing status, date of birth, and mailing address. You may also have to answer questions about your credit card, home equity loan, or car loan. 

Once you complete your registration, you will be able to download your Tax Return Transcripts.

 If you are not able to create an account, you can also request that the IRS send your Tax Return Transcripts to you by mail. You will receive the documents in approximately five to ten days. 

Even if you submit your Tax Return Transcript instead of a tax return, you should also submit your W2s and 1099s for the most recent tax year.

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