When it comes to taxes, many citizens see the line being drawn at additional fees for late payments. That is no longer the case. In
February, the IRS issued a warning to all “Seriously Delinquent” taxpayers: Make your payments or risk losing your passport. This statement came amid a rise in tax evasion over the last few years and was followed up by an additional reminder last week.
Here’s what you should know:
Execution Of The Warning
What is happening, exactly? The IRS warning states that anyone meeting the “Seriously Delinquent” categorization will be notified in writing through a mailer arriving at their last known address. This message will also include a statement that the State Department has been certified to seize your passport. The only way to reverse this ruling is as follows: Your tax debt is fully satisfied or becomes legally unenforceable; the tax debt is no longer seriously delinquent, or the certification is erroneous. The warning goes further and highlights that the State Department is held harmless on these matters, and cannot be sued for execution of the IRS mandate.
Seriously Delinquent Categorization
For you to be considered for the “Seriously Delinquent” categorization with the IRS, you must have an unpaid, legally enforceable federal tax debt totaling over $51,000. If you meet this requirement, don’t worry, it doesn’t automatically mean that your passport is being revoked. This debt is only calculated as eligible if it is incurred under Title 26 of the United States Code, and does not include debts collected by the IRS connected to penalties like FBAR and Child Support. Furthermore, if you have made an agreement for payment installments, delayed payment, are living in a disaster/combat zone, or have filed for bankruptcy, you also do not have to fear revocation. However, if you meet the Title 26 debt threshold, and have ignored all IRS sanctions up to this point, they have indicated that they will certify the State Department to cease issuing a new passport, and/or seize your current one.
What You Can Do
If your passport application is denied, or current passport is revoked, you must fully pay the balance, or arrange for alternative payment plans in order for your certification to be reversed, even if your job depends on you having the aforementioned identification. After resolution, the IRS will allow you to continue with your passport use within 30 days of completion and will notify the State Department as soon as possible. For more details on the full warning, visit the IRS website. Taxes can be a touchy subject, and it’s important that you stay on top of your responsibilities, or risk major implications on business and personal travel.