May 30, 2017

Can My Passport Be Revoked If I Owe Taxes to the IRS?If you owe taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, you should know that the agency has numerous ways to compel you to pay your debt—including the revocation of your passport.

In December 2015, President Obama signed a five-year infrastructure spending bill referred to as the FAST Act or Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, giving the IRS a new means to collect taxes. Under H.R 22 of Section 7345 of the IRC, “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies,” the U.S. State Department is lawfully authorized to deny a passport, revoke a passport, or deny the renewal of a passport to any taxpayer that the IRS identifies as seriously delinquent in their tax obligation.

A seriously delinquent tax debt refers to a debt amounting to more than $50,000, including interest and penalties, and where the IRS has already filed a tax lien notice or issued a garnishment or levy against the individual.

Your IRS tax debt is not deemed seriously delinquent if you are currently making payments to the agency under an offer-in-compromise agreement or installment agreement. A seriously delinquent tax debt also excludes a tax debt for which innocent spouse relief has been requested, or for which there is a pending collection due process hearing.

If your tax debt falls under the definition of seriously delinquent, the IRS must first notify you that the IRS is sending certification for your passport denial or revocation to the U.S. State Department, thus providing you with the right to challenge this in court. After certifying your seriously delinquent tax debt, the agency must also inform the State Department as soon as the tax debt has been fully paid or if the tax debt no longer classifies as seriously delinquent. The IRS must also inform the State Department if the certification is found to be erroneous.

If your passport application is denied or your passport is revoked while you are overseas, the U.S. State Department may opt to issue you a limited validity passport, which is acceptable only for your direct return to the U.S.

As an administrative exception to the law, the State Department has the authority to issue a passport to an individual in the event of an emergency or for humanitarian reasons, despite receiving a certification notice from the IRS.

If you owe a large amount of taxes to the IRS and are concerned about leaving or entering the country with a U.S. passport, consult with an experienced tax attorney who can help you address the problem as soon as possible.

Categories: IRS