Coming Soon: No Travel Or Passport If You Owe IRS
The movement started in 2012, when Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) proposed that if you owe the IRS more than $50,000, you shouldn’t get a passport.
These efforts morphed into Senate Bill 1813, introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Mostly it was about highway safety, but would also authorize the federal government to prevent Americans from leaving the country if they owe back taxes. One idea is to allow the State Department to revoke, deny or limit passports for anyone the IRS certifies as having a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of $50,000.
A $50,000 tax debt is easy to amass today. In addition, tax liens are pretty standard. The IRS files tax liens routinely when you owe taxes. It’s the IRS way of putting creditors on notice so the IRS eventually gets paid. In that sense, the you-can’t-travel idea seems extreme. Some commentators noted that a far smaller sum of unpaid child support can trigger similar passport action.
The proposed law now appears in the pending Highway Bill, more prophetically labeled the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” or “MAP-21”. It would add a new section 7345 to the code entitled “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies”.
Editor's Note: This is another illustration of the fact that you do not own your citizenship and passport. The government does. And they can take it away for any reason they see fit. This is an excellent reason to have a second passport. You may want to check out Going Global, our comprehensive publication where we discuss the best countries and methods to obtain a second passport in great actionable detail.
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