August 29th, 2019
Pay Your Taxes or Lose Your Passport
Author: Michael Y. Goldberg
The Internal Revenue Service has recently begun seeking the revocation of passports of taxpayers who owe back taxes. Previously, the IRS had only been certifying those with seriously deliqunent tax debt to the State Department for purposes of denying renewals of passports. With the policy change, IRS has begun to send Notice Letter 6152 to taxpayers it has targeted for revocation of their passports.
A “seriously delinquent tax debt” is a tax liability greater than $52,000 as adjusted annually for inflation that the IRS has already tried to collect from the taxpayer by filing a Notice of Federal Tax Lien or by levying property. The IRS is authorized to certify tax debt as seriously delinquent pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 7345 and do so by sending a Notice CP508C. The same section provides the IRS with authorization to request that the Secretary of State revoke or limit a taxpayer’s use of a passport. The IRS is now taking advantage of this power.
In order to get removed from the seriously delinquent tax debt list, a taxpayer must be actively working with the IRS to resolve liabilities including requesting an installment agreement or seeking an offer in compromise. Taxpayers are urged to plan in advance as the process to get decertified takes time although there are expediated processes available in certain situations.
If you have questions about this topic or believe that your passport is in jeopardy, or if you would like assistance on any other tax planning, examination, litigation or collection matter, please contact a member of Stein Sperling’s tax law department.