IRS Begins Revoking Passports for Those with “Seriously Delinquent” Tax Debts

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that, in January of 2018, it would begin enforcing a law that allows the US Government to revoke passport privileges for those with tax debs deemed “seriously delinquent.” Read on to learn more about the law and whether you’re at risk of having your passport revoked, and contact a seasoned Texas past due tax attorney with additional questions.

FAST Act, made law in 2015, being enforced

The newly-enforced rule has been law for years. In 2015, the US Congress enacted the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The law, §7345 of the US Tax Code, authorized the IRS to notify the State Department when an individual’s tax debt becomes “seriously delinquent.” This in turn authorizes the State Department to refuse to issue or renew a passport, or to allow that person to use their passport to travel internationally. While the law has long been on the books, the IRS announced in January of 2018 that it would begin the process of notifying the State Department of the identities of individuals with delinquent tax debts. The IRS will provide certifications of delinquent tax debts after the taxpayer has been notified of a proposed deficiency, and, subsequently, a notice of deficiency. Taxpayers should contact a tax attorney to assist them in protesting or settling these issues after receiving notice of a proposed deficiency, before that deficiency becomes certified. Once a tax debt is certified by the IRS, the taxpayer’s options for contesting the debt become far more limited.

Civil and criminal cases included in passport restrictions

The passport restrictions apply to more than just criminal tax cases. Whether or not the US Government believes you’re a flight risk escaping charges or simply the tax debt in question, the law applies to any individual who owes the IRS more than $50,000. That number can include taxes owed, trust fund recovery penalties, business taxes, interest on the debt, and other civil penalties—which means the underlying tax owed may be far less. Once the IRS has certified to the State Department that someone is seriously delinquent on their taxes, they will provide notice to the taxpayer. This notice won’t come in advance of the certification to the State department. That said, a seriously delinquent taxpayer applying for a new or renewed passport will generally have their application held open for about 90 days to allow them to resolve their tax issue.

If you’re facing a serious tax issue in Texas and need sophisticated, knowledgeable assistance with your case, contact the Tyler tax attorneys at the Scammahorn Law Firm for a consultation at 903-595-1000.