Traveling abroad? Make sure your taxes are paid, otherwise you might have to cancel your plans. In enacting the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (“FAST Act”), Congress added § 7345 to the Internal Revenue Code. This section allows the Secretary of State to deny, revoke or limit passports to taxpayers who have “seriously delinquent tax debts.”
In this case, your tax debt is considered seriously delinquent when it is over $50,000. The IRS has either taken levy action or filed a lien on the balance, and your collection due process rights have lapsed or been exhausted.
For a seriously delinquent tax debt, the IRS will send a notice to you and the US Secretary of State. This notice is to inform you of what is outstanding and how to deny it. If the IRS erroneously sent this notice, arguing the issue in court could be your only option.
In the event the IRS did not error in making a “seriously delinquent” determination, you can retain passport privileges in three instances: full payment, payment agreement or innocent spouse relief. Once this occurs, the IRS is to reverse its determination by sending notices to both the Secretary of State and to you regarding your change in status. Said notice generally is to be sent within thirty days of the change.
If you have dreams of cruising through Europe or relaxing on a beach in the Caribbean, check on your delinquent tax debt first. Nobody wants to get turned away at the airport.
Adjusted for inflation. I.R.C. § 7345 (f).