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Can The IRS Take Your Passport?



Venar Ayar, Tax Lawyer

The IRS can’t seize your passport, but they can let the State Department know if you have seriously delinquent tax debt. Once this happens, the State Department can deny your passport renewal or revoke your current passport.

Before this happens, you’ll have several opportunities to resolve your tax problems and keep your right to carry a valid passport.

IRS Collections And Notices

Your tax debt can’t be certified to the State Department until it is “seriously delinquent”, which requires an outstanding balance of over $52,000. Before you reach this amount of tax debt, the IRS will likely send you several bills and notices asking you to submit payment.

You may also receive a notice informing you that the IRS is filing a tax lien in the public records or issuing a levy against your bank account, wages, or other assets. At this point, you should know the IRS means business and contact a tax attorney for assistance.

If you still don’t work out a deal with the IRS and your balance exceeds $52,000, the IRS then has the ability to certify your tax debt to the U.S. State Department.

The Certification Process

You’ll receive a notice informing you that the IRS has alerted the State Department of your seriously delinquent tax debt. Fortunately, the State Department will wait 90 days before denying or revoking your passport.

During this time, you can still take action to keep your passport. There are several different ways to resolve your tax problems:

  • The certification may be erroneous if IRS procedures were not followed.
    • You may dispute the amount you owe for various reasons, such as the expiration of the collections statute of limitations.
    • You can pay off your full balance.
    • Enter into a monthly IRS installment agreement to repay your debt.
    • Submit an Offer in Compromise to settle your tax debt for less than you owe.
    • Request innocent spouse relief.

    You can also use these tax resolution options after a passport denial takes place. However, the IRS may take up to 30 days to reverse certification and notify the State Department.

    Your best option is to avoid certification before it happens. Contact a tax attorney to determine the best course of action for protecting your passport.

Have a question? Contact Venar Ayar.

 

 

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