State Department Begins to Deny Passports to Tax Debtors

by Daniel McCarthy
State Department Begins to Deny Passports to Tax Debtors

According to recent reports, the U.S. State Department began revoking passports in February, or denying renewals, to people who owe more than $51,000 in delinquent taxes. Photo: Shutterstock.com.


After more than two years of warnings, travelers officially may have their plans put in jeopardy if they owe back taxes.

According to recent reports, the U.S. State Department began revoking passports in February, or denying renewals, to people who owe more than $51,000 in delinquent taxes. Notices have already been sent out to a number of tax debtors, and the entire list of 362,000 will be notified in writing by the State Department by the end of 2018.

“If you have seriously delinquent tax debt, IRC § 7345 authorizes the IRS to certify that debt to the State Department for action. The State Department generally will not issue a passport to you after receiving certification from the IRS,” the IRS website reads.

More than $11 million in back taxes had already been collected by the end of June and 1,400 people have already entered into payment agreements with the IRS.

There are exemptions for American citizens living overseas — the State Department said it will not prevent citizens from traveling back to the U.S. because of back taxes, but it may impact travel once they arrive in the country.

There are also exemptions for those people who owe taxes because of a tax-related identity thief, those who reside in a federal disaster area, those who are in bankruptcy, and those who are already in negotiation with the IRS.

Debtors will have 90 days to make full payments, or resolve any problems, before the State Department will deny a passport application.

The reports comes three years after the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), was signed into law, giving the U.S. State Department permission to deny passport renewals or revoke them outright.

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