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Can I lose my passport if I do not pay my taxes?

| Jun 11, 2020 | Tax Law

Paying your tax bill is not just a suggestion, but a requirement. A failure to do so can lead to all sorts of problems. This can include financial penalties, interest payments, jail time and even loss of one’s passport.

How can the government take away my passport if I do not pay my taxes?

The government was granted this power with the passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. This law allows the government to deny a passport application or even revoke passports that are already issued because the taxpayer has failed to pay their tax bill.

Who is at risk of losing their passport?

In most cases, the government only takes away passports for those who owe $51,000 or more in tax obligations. Thus far, as noted in a report by CNBC, the government has only targeted taxpayers with a qualifying debt who are applying for new or renewed passports. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will now start sending unresolved cases of tax debt to the State Department, leading to a potential revocation of the taxpayer’s passport.

The IRS states it has notified those who are at risk, sending out 400,000 letters to taxpayers since the program began.

What if I am at risk?

Those with large tax debt have options. The law does not apply to those who are in an installment agreement with the IRS or in negotiations to lower the tax bill. As a result, those who receive notification from the IRS of a tax debt are wise to discuss their options with a tax attorney.