IRS Is Denying Passports for Seriously Delinquent Tax Debtors

Taxpayers preparing to travel internationally may soon have to change their plans if they are behind on their taxes.  Earlier this week, the IRS “strongly encouraged” individuals with “seriously delinquent tax debts” to pay what they owe or enter into a payment agreement, or else they jeopardize their passports.

The warning comes as the IRS begins implementing new tax enforcement procedures that were included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015.  Under the new FAST Act procedures, if the IRS certifies that an individual owes a “seriously delinquent tax debt,” the IRS is required to notify the State Department.  The State Department, in turn, is prohibited from issuing a passport to any individual the IRS has certified.  The State Department is further authorized to revoke a previously issued passport.


To be at risk of having a passport denied or revoked, the taxpayer must have a “seriously delinquent tax debt,” which the FAST Act defines as an unpaid, legally enforceable federal tax liability greater than $51,000 (adjusted annually for inflation), for which the IRS has issued a levy or filed a Notice of Federal Tax Lien, and the period to challenge it has expired.  The $51,000 threshold includes taxes, interest, and penalties.


Seriously delinquent tax debtors can avoid this risk to their passports by paying the debt in full, by entering an installment agreement to pay the tax debt over time, or by paying the debt under an offer in compromise or other settlement.  The certification may also be suspended where a taxpayer has been granted a collection hold, for example, by submitting a request for a collection due process hearing or for innocent spouse relief.


Don’t Live in Fear of the IRS


If you have unfiled tax returns or owe the IRS back taxes, there are options to get into compliance.  At the law office of Daniel Rosefelt & Associates, we have a team of experienced tax attorneys, CPAs, and IRS Enrolled Agents ready to help you find a solution to your tax problems.  Our office serves Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and the rest of the nation.  Call or contact our office online today to request a confidential case consultation.