If you owe the IRS over $50,000 and have not made arrangements to resolve your tax situation, a recently passed law requires the IRS to limit or eliminate your right to travel by using a U.S. passport. This is potentially a very serious situation as it may severely hamper the ability to do business or travel for personal reasons.
Can You Still Get a Passport If You Owe the IRS?
If you currently owe the IRS, you could be wondering, “Can I get a passport?” The answer to this question depends on the severity of your tax debt. If you have a “seriously delinquent” tax debt ($54,000 or more) and you have not reached a settlement agreement with the IRS, the IRS can begin a process that results in the State Department restricting your passport. If the IRS certifies your seriously delinquent tax debt to the State Department, you cannot apply or renew your passport unless you fulfill certain conditions. The State Department can also revoke your active passport. If you are overseas, the State Department may issue a restricted validity passport for direct return to the country. If you get into such a situation, you need to develop a plan to settle your debt before planning any trip overseas.
If you do owe the IRS, you can still get a passport if the following circumstances apply to you:
- You have negotiated a settlement agreement, and you have started paying as agreed.
- You have paid your tax debt with either the IRS, through an offer in a compromise, or the Justice Department, through a settlement agreement.
- The IRS has informed you about a lien or levy, but you have asked for a Collection Due Process hearing.
- You have asked for “Innocent Spouse Relief,” and the IRS has agreed to stop collecting tax from you for a certain period.
- You have recently filed your tax return for the current year and expect a refund.
Denial or Revocation of United States Passport
On December 4, 2015, as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act Congress enacted section 7345 of the Internal Revenue Code, which requires the Internal Revenue Service to notify the State Department of taxpayers certified as owing a seriously delinquent tax debt. The FAST Act generally prohibits the State Department from issuing or renewing a passport to a taxpayer with seriously delinquent tax debt.
Seriously delinquent tax debt means an unpaid, legally enforceable federal tax liability of an individual totaling more than $50,000 for which, a Notice of Federal Tax lien has been filed and all administrative remedies under IRC § 6320 have lapsed or been exhausted, or a levy has been issued. If you are individually liable for tax debt (including penalties and interest) totaling more than $50,000 and you do not pay the amount you owe or make alternate arrangements to pay, or request a Collection Due Process, the IRS may notify the State Department that your tax debt is seriously delinquent. The State Department generally will not issue or renew a passport to you after the IRS makes this notification. If you currently have a valid passport, the State Department may revoke your passport or limit your ability to travel outside the United States.
Tax Debts Exceeding $50,000
The IRS has several streamlined programs for resolving tax debts of less than $50,000. However, once the amount of tax debt exceeds $50,000, as is the situation for seriously delinquent tax debts that affect passports, obtaining the assistance of an experienced tax attorney and CPA Stanton D. Goldberg is a solid choice to try to get the best result to avoid the harsh consequences of IRS collection action or the denial or revocation of your right to travel using a U.S. passport. The personal attention and knowledge provided by the Law Office of Stanton D. Goldberg is often what is needed to handle these more complex cases to reach the best result for the taxpayer.
The tax attorneys at the Law Office of Stanton D. Goldberg can help you resolve your tax situation either before the IRS certifies you as having a seriously delinquent tax debt or after that has occurred and you want to reestablish your access to a U.S. Passport.
Contact Our Dallas Law Office
When you need IRS representation for complex and important tax problems, call attorney Goldberg at 972-960-2200. You may also contact us online.