The IRS Code Section 7345 now authorizes the IRS to certify seriously delinquent tax debt to the State Department for action. Under that federal law, the State Department is now allowed to deny issuance of passports to, or revoke passports of, delinquent taxpayers after receiving certification from the IRS.

The IRS will begin implementing this law on January 1, 2018 by certifying tax debt to the State Department, which will allow the State Department to revoke or withhold the issuance of passports to delinquent U.S. taxpayers.

For the I.R.S. to certify delinquent IRS debt to the State Department, the tax debt must be considered “seriously delinquent tax debt.”  This is defined as: (a) an amount exceeding $50,000, as adjusted annually for inflation and including penalties and interest; (b) a levy or notice of federal tax lien has been issued by the IRS; and (c) all administrative remedies, such as the right to request a collection due process hearing, have lapsed or been exhausted.  

Some tax debt is not included in determining seriously delinquent tax debt even if it meets the above criteria. It includes tax debt: 

  • Being paid in a timely manner under  an installment agreement entered into with the IRS 
  • Being paid in a timely manner under an offer in compromise accepted by the IRS or a settlement agreement entered into with the Justice Department
  • For which a collection due process hearing is timely requested in connection with a levy to collect the debt
  • For which collection has been suspended because a request for innocent spouse relief under IRC § 6015 has been made

Before denying a passport, the State Department will hold your application for 90 days to allow you to:

  • Resolve any erroneous certification issues 
  • Make full payment of the tax debt
  • Enter into a satisfactory payment alternative with the IRS

So if you are seriously delinquent with your I.R.S. taxes, and you intend to travel internationally or otherwise need your passport, either resolve your tax issues yourself quickly or contact a tax resolution professional to help you. Our law firm helps people resolve their I.R.S. tax issues. You can contact our firm at 713-772-8037 for an appointment with Mr. Black to discuss your I.R.S tax issue.

Do you believe this is right, that non-payment of I.R.S. taxes can result in losing your ability to travel internationally? Or do you think that this is a heavy-handed way for the U.S. Government to collect their taxes? Please leave any questions or comments below!

J Thomas Black
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Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization
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