Imagine waking up in the morning and beginning your daily routine. Throughout your day, you go to your mailbox and check it for new arrivals only to find a tax lien from the IRS. The next part of that mailer will be another form notifying you that your passport will be revoked or limited. Yes. Revoked. That will be the reality for many Americans shortly, with the upcoming passing of H.R. 22 which specifically is in section 7345 of the tax code, called “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies.” This new legislation has already passed the House and the Senate and is up for votes in Congress. If approved within the next few days, Congress will grant the State Department the power to revoke, deny or limit passport use if you owe an amount equal to or more than $50,000 and are considered seriously delinquent. However, slippery slope exists when it comes to how they will enforce this new law once it is in effect. The State Department could even take back your existing passport.
Details are unclear as of now, but this could mean no renewal of your current passport or not being issued one at all if you do not possess one as of now. That total amount of $50,000 includes all interest and penalties that we all know can stack up quickly with the Internal Revenue Service. The State Department can grant you a conditional passport for emergencies or humanitarian reasons, but those are still a grey area and people with the right relationships. With details of this new law so undefined, there is room to leave many-a-citizen in a bind that may not even be legitimate.
IRS tax liens can be issued for many reasons and cover all of your assets from property to businesses. They also can be issued by mistake and usually are to notify collectors of the intent to collect on a debt. If you are paying your debt off per an approved payment plan, you are exempt. If an owed amount is legally in dispute in open court, then that is not a tax debt at all as of yet.
The manner in which the special passports are going to be issued still needs to be sorted out. When this passes, and if it stays with the American public, you will see the landscape of travel in the United States change drastically. Especially for those who make enough income that would have them easily fall into $50,000 worth of debt fairly quick. There is some good news for those against this: the fact that it may be unconstitutional. Also, travel between states and countries is independently negotiated between those states and countries. So sit tight, watch some C-Span or C-Span 2. If you get those channels, you may catch a real-time vote on the issue. Pay your taxes and if you don’t owe that amount, get your paperwork together. Your future of traveling abroad may depend on it.