IRS Warns Travelers: Passports at Risk if $51,000 in Taxes Owed!

Many of my friends and contemporaries in the business world travel a great deal for work and pleasure. So, imagine you’re at the airport preparing to board your plane.  You have an appointment with a prospect that could give your business the big name international client you have worked so hard to get. Knowing that could this prospect is so close to becoming one of the biggest and most prestigious clients of your career you can’t help but feel some excitement and pride.

Your trip is pleasant, and the flight was smooth. You disembark into the security area and are asked for your passport. WHAT you say? What do you mean my passport has been revoked? Customers put you back on a plane to your home country after sitting for 8 hors for the next flight home.

Not the vision you had when you boarded the international flight to a better tomorrow.

The Internal Revenue Service has strongly encouraged taxpayers who are seriously behind on their taxes to pay what they owe or enter into a payment agreement with the IRS to avoid putting their passports in jeopardy.

In January 2018, the IRS will begin implementation of new procedures affecting individuals with “seriously delinquent tax debts.” These new procedures implement provisions of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, signed into law in December 2015. The FAST Act requires the IRS to notify the State Department of taxpayers the IRS has certified as owing a seriously delinquent tax debt.  The FAST Act also requires the State Department to deny their passport application or deny renewal of their passport. In some cases, the State Department may revoke their passport.

Taxpayers affected by this law are those with a seriously delinquent tax debt.  A taxpayer with a seriously delinquent tax debt is generally someone who owes the IRS more than $51,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest for which the IRS has filed a Notice of Federal Tax Lien and the period to challenge it has expired or the IRS has issued a levy.

There are several ways taxpayers can avoid having the IRS notify the State Department of their seriously delinquent tax debt. They include the following:

  • Paying the tax debt in full
  • Paying the tax debt timely under an approved installment agreement,
  • Paying the tax debt timely under an accepted offer in compromise,
  • Paying the tax debt timely under the terms of a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice,
  • Having requested or have a pending collection due process appeal with a levy, or
  • Having collection suspended because a taxpayer has made an innocent spouse election or requested innocent spouse relief.

A passport won’t be at risk under this program for any taxpayer:

  • Who is in bankruptcy
  • Who is identified by the IRS as a victim of tax-related identity theft
  • Whose account the IRS has determined is currently not collectible due to hardship
  • Who is located within a federally declared disaster area
  • Who has a request pending with the IRS for an installment agreement
  • Who has a pending offer in compromise with the IRS
  • Who has an IRS accepted adjustment that will satisfy the debt in full

For taxpayers serving in a combat zone who owe a seriously delinquent tax debt, the IRS postpones notifying the State Department and the individual’s passport is not subject to denial during this time.

Taxpayers behind on their tax obligations should come forward and challenge what they owe or enter a payment plan with the IRS. Frequently, taxpayers qualify for one of several relief programs, including the following:

  • Taxpayers can request a payment agreement with the IRS.
  • Some financially distressed taxpayers may qualify for an offer in compromise. This is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. The IRS looks at the taxpayer’s income and assets to determine the taxpayer’s ability to pay.

To help determine eligibility and to exercise your taxpayer rights of representation you should consider hiring a tax resolution firm to help sort the issues and get you back in the air flying to the next appointment.

Hiring a Tax Resolution Firm should come with some due diligence on your part to be sure you be properly cared for and your case is being actively resolved. I have prepared a Guide called “5 Questions to Ask Any Tax Resolution Firm Before Paying Them a Dime” to set you on a straight path to clarity in choosing a professional.


ABOUT OUR COMPANY: New Life Tax Resolution is built on the foundation of our Core Values, including commitment, trust and respect for our clients. Our goal is to provide every client with efficient, permanent relief from the stressful burden of tax debt. We don’t just want you to be free from debt, we want you to leave New Life Tax Resolution with the knowledge and tools you need to never find yourself in the same situation again.

Our company is uniquely poised to help with a variety of issues from innocent spouse, bankruptcy to back taxes, audits, liens and levies, wage garnishments, and other issues.  It is possible to be free and clear of looming IRS issues. Grab your guide here “5 Questions To Ask Any Tax Resolution Firm Before Paying Them A Dime”

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About Patrick LeClaire

After 15 years in corporate finance and Tax Preparation, I formed a company as an Enrolled Agent. I insist on superior customer service and the highest standards available as I embark on a journey to resolve one case at a time at New Life Tax Resolution.