If you owe money to the IRS and enjoy using your passport to travel outside of the U.S., you should pay close attention to this information.
The IRS is issuing notices to individuals who are seriously delinquent with their taxes urging them to pay up or they will be reported to the State Department. The State Department then has the authority to deny a passport application, refuse to renew or revoke a passport entirely.
This is all due to the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was signed into law in December of 2015. The FAST Act requires the IRS to notify the State Department of taxpayers that the IRS has deemed as owing a delinquent tax debt. FAST Act then requires the State Department to deny that individual his or her passport.
What is Delinquent Tax Debt?
You may be considered seriously delinquent with your tax debt if you owe more than $51,000 in back taxes, penalties, and interest. Additionally, the IRS has filed a Notice of Federal Tax Lien and the period to challenge has ended or the IRS issued a levy.
Passport Not at Risk if These Conditions Apply
Under this program, according to the IRS, your passport may not be at risk if one of these conditions applies to you.
- You are in bankruptcy
- The IRS has identified you as a victim of tax-related identity theft
- The IRS has determined your account is currently not collectible due to hardship
- You are located within a federally declared disaster area
- You have a request pending with the IRS for an installment agreement
- You have a pending offer in compromise with the IRS
- You have an IRS accepted adjustment that will satisfy the debt in full
Avoid the IRS Notifying the State Department
There is a legal strategy to deal with both the IRS and State Department so that people will be able to travel again, without the fear of losing their passport. If you know anyone who receives any of these notices in the coming days (the IRS is just starting to issue them), it's extremely important that they contact an experienced attorney who can assist them through the process of protecting their passport.
IRS Urges Travelers Requiring Passports to Pay Their Back Taxes or Enter into Payment Agreements; People Owing $51,000 or More Covered. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-urges-travelers-requiring-passports-to-pay-their-back-taxes-or-enter-into-payment-agreements-people-owing-51000-or-more-covered