No Passport If You Owe IRS $50,000+?

IRS Could Revoke Your Passport

If he were in charge of travel, the Soup Nazi might say, “No Passport for you!” In real life, travel may seem unrelated to taxes, except perhaps for those annoying airport taxes on international destinations. But a bigger tax and travel connection could keep you at home—permanently.

A tax law quietly proposed a few months ago—Owe IRS Taxes, Lose Your Passport—is quietly gaining momentum. Now more people have noticed. If you owe the IRS? You’re Not Going Anywhere if this law passes. In America, we love to tinker with our tax laws. Congress is always introducing one bill or another to tweak an already bloated and increasingly dysfunctional tax system.

It’s curious how ingredients go into the sausage, often making strange legislative bedfellows. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) proposed that if you owe the IRS more then $50,000, you shouldn’t get a passport. See Hatch’s Memo to Reporters and Editors. Now this ‘we-need-the-money’ provision has morphed into Senate Bill 1813, introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). It was introduced in November and passed by the Senate on March 14 “to reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes.”

At best, there seems a titular connection between this provision and highway safety. Nevertheless, the law would authorize the federal government to prevent Americans from leaving the country if they owe back taxes. It was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who proposed allowing 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.”

Does this apply in all cases? Mercifully no. You could travel if your tax debt is being paid in a timely manner or in emergency circumstances or for humanitarian reasons.  But this isn’t limited to criminal tax cases or situations where the government fears someone is fleeing a tax debt.

In fact, if the bill is passed you could have your passport revoked merely because you owe say $60,000 and the IRS has filed a notice of lien. Bear in mind that the IRS files tax liens routinely when you owe taxes–it’s just the IRS way of putting creditors on notice so the IRS will eventually get paid…In that sense, this you-can’t-travel idea seems pretty extreme.

Some commentators note that a far smaller sum of unpaid child support can trigger the same kind of passport action. Why shouldn’t unpaid taxes, they argue?  Others attack the proposal as potentially unconstitutional.

Stay tuned as this proposed law is debated.

Source: Forbes

  • Tom Stevens

    This bill has already passed the senate. Please contact your representatives in congress and instruct them to vote no for senate bill 1813 before it is too late.

    If you do not act now soon some ignorant socialist congressman will introduce a law to take away your drivers license for some frivolous reason. They may revoke your drivers license if you do not pay your student loan. Seriously it will happen if this bill becomes law.

    Also instruct your representatives to vote no for any bill that limits freedom for Americans.

    Everyone knows the problem with the deficit is spending. You could take away everyone’s passport and driving license and you still would not be able to fix the deficit.

    These soviet style tactics of limiting peoples freedom is going to backfire. As was in the other repressive societies the wealthy and middle class people will just leave the USA permanently and start paying their taxes to another country that does not have soviet style repression. As you should know this is already happening. Many wealthy and middle class people are already leaving the USA.

    This bill is causing stress and strife in the country and polarizing the American people. This is never a good situation.

    Please instruct your representatives to focus on the problem of spending and stop these repressive tactics that accomplish nothing but the polarization of the people. 

    Seriously soon some ignorant socialist congressman will attempt to take away the drivers licenses of the American people for some frivolous reason that will accomplish nothing and further erode American values and pride.

    There is an ever growing erosion of American pride and an ever increasing embarrassment of being American. Bills and laws that limit American freedom and erode American pride are making the USA the laughing stock of the world.

    When I see attachments to bills like the one giving the IRS power to suspend or revoke an Americans right to travel it makes me sick. It makes me feel embarrassed to be an American.  Please try to stop the politicians from destroying our country.

    Also Instruct your representatives to initiate a bill that makes the ability to travel a right and not just a privilege so the politicians will never be able to do this repressive act in the future. I don’t want the government of my country to be able to limit travel and control Americans like other repressive governments. I want to be free and proud of my country the USA.

    Also please instruct your congressman to talk to other congressman to stop this bill from becoming law.

    The link to contact your representative.