The Supreme Court of the United States has confirmed that resident-aliens, even those who have obtained their green card, are subject to deportation for filing false tax returns. According to the highest court in the land, the filing of a false tax return by a resident-alien is an aggravated felony subject to deportation when the U.S. Government’s revenue loss exceeds $10,000.

In Kawashima v. Holder, the Kawashima spouses were citizens of Japan and resident-aliens of the State of California when they signed and filed a tax return in the name of a corporation through which they operated a restaurant in said state.  In 1992, Mr. Kawashima signed and filed a false tax return for 1991 that had been completed with the help of his wife. In 1997, the Kawashimas were declared guilty and it was determined that the loss to the U.S. Government, including fines, interest, and other charges, added to a little more than $245,000, which was paid by the Kawashimas in due course.

In 2001, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) informed the Kawashimas that, because the crime committed by them was an aggravated felony for filing a false tax return, they had lost their permanent residence and green card, and therefore had to leave the country.  As a result, a series of cases were initiated that concluded with this verdict of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Deportation Is Always a Possibility If You Are Not a U.S. Citizen

While it is clearly wrong to falsify tax returns, this case is about more than how a resident-alien files his or her taxes. The finding also shows how important it is for permanent residents to try to obtain their U.S. citizenship as soon as possible because any type of problem, such as an innocent DUI violation (driving a car, motorcycle, etc., including a bicycle in a public road, after having ingested alcohol), negligent car accident, or any other sort of trouble, may get them deported. Sometimes even the misuse or abuse of government privileges —SENTRI or, GLOBAL ENTRY — may get them ultimately deported.

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