Why the IRS is Revoking Passports From Americans Who Owe Taxes

american passportThe Internal Revenue Service says that 362,000 Americans with “seriously delinquent” overdue tax payments will be denied passports or passport renewals if they do not pay the money they owe, The Wall Street Journalreports.

The IRS has the power to block passports thanks to a law passed by Congress in 2015, which authorizes the move in cases where more than $51,000 is owed. Since February, the agency has been sending tens of thousands of violators’ names to the State Department, which oversees passport applications.

The State Department says that violators who do not resolve their tax issues before applying for a passport will have their application delayed or denied. Meanwhile, people with seriously delinquent tax payments who have already applied for a new U.S. passport will not have a new passport issued to them until they have resolved their tax issues with the IRS.

At least one person paid $1 million in overdue taxes to avoid having their passport denied, the Journal reports. As of June, at least 220 people have paid a total of $11.5 million in overdue debts, according to the Journal.

The State Department says that people with overdue taxes who are already overseas may be eligible for a limited passport good for a direct return to the United States. The IRS also says that it will offer payment plans to “financially distressed” taxpayers, and that people who are bankrupt, victims of tax-related identity fraud or living in a federally-declared disaster area won’t have their passports put at risk.



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