IRS Urges Travelers Requiring Passports to Pay Their Back Taxes or Enter into Payment Agreements; People Owing $51,000 or More Covered
The Internal Revenue Service recently issued a statement strongly encouraging 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.
This month, the IRS will begin implementation of new procedures affecting individuals with “seriously delinquent tax liabilitys.” These new procedures implement provisions of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The FAST Act requires the IRS to notify the State Department of taxpayers the IRS has certified as owing a seriously delinquent tax liability. 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 liability. A taxpayer with a seriously delinquent tax liability 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 liability. They include the following:
- Paying the tax liability in full
- Paying the tax liability timely under an approved installment agreement,
- Paying the tax liability timely under an accepted offer in compromise,
- Paying the tax liability 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 liability in full
For taxpayers serving in a combat zone who owe a seriously delinquent tax liability, the IRS postpones notifying the State Department and the individual’s passport is not subject to denial during this time.
Bottom line: Do not ignore the problem. Find a knowledgabe tax professional for help. A tax attorney can assess your situation and give you a plan for how to best resolve your taxes and protect you against collections efforts including revocation of your passport.