What Does the DACA Repeal Mean for Your Tax Business? When United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the immediate rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on September 5, hundreds of business leaders and entrepreneurs signed and sent a letter to the White House and Congress. This letter urged the Trump administration to reconsider the decision to terminate DACA.
DACA is the rule that was put in place by the Obama Administration, granting legal residence to certain immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
If you are the owner of an American small business, a permanent repeal of DACA may deprive you of an opportunity to hire some smart, hard-working young professionals.
If you have already hired “Dreamers,” they may lose their legal status and the right to work in less than two years.
As a tax professional, you may also have tax clients who are affected by the repeal of DACA.
Here are a few things we should know about this situation, as tax professionals…
Retaining Legal Counsel
Most small businesses do not usually have enough resources to keep their tax preparer on retainer, let alone an in-house legal department.
Nonetheless, for those facing immigration challenges, adequate representation is more important than ever due to the shifting legal landscape during the Trump administration.
Small companies in large metropolitan areas tend to be affected the most. If your business does not have in-house counsel, you should strongly consider interviewing law firms that specialize in labor law and human resources. The idea here is to be ready in case of sudden regulatory changes, surprise inspections, or even workplace raids by immigration agents.
Checking for employment eligibility and conducting verification have become pressing compliance issues with the repeal of DACA.
According to JD Palentine, companies without a reliable I9 verification and filing system in place should not wait until your company is subject to an audit.
In the current administration, audits could result in fines as high as $1,100 per clerical error, and this is something that most small business owners cannot afford.
Offering Help to Key Employees
Although the DACA repeal may seem to be permanent at this point, things may change between now and February 2018.
It is important to remember that Trump gave Congress six months to review how the program may fit into legislation, which means that there is a possibility that Dreamers may be able to find a path towards legal status.
If you have promising employees in the DACA program, you may want to think about offering legal assistance so that they may be able to find a way to qualify for immigration benefits.
You also could gather together some legal resources information to give to your clients who may be affected by the DACA repeal.
In the end, only time will tell what will happen to the DACA program.
In the meantime, we as tax professionals should position ourselves as a trusted, expert resource for our clients and our communities.