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Posted: July 13, 2018

Individuals with 'seriously delinquent tax debt' will be denied U.S. passports, may have existing passports revoked

In an article published July 6, the Wall Street Journal reported at least 362,000 Americans with overdue tax debts exceeding $51,000 - 'seriously delinquent tax debt' - will be denied new or renewed passports if the debts are not settled. The Internal Revenue Service began enforcing this provision of U.S. Code 7345 in February, according to the report.

Under the law, existing valid passports can also be revoked for individuals with seriously delinquent tax debt; however, according to the Journal, "IRS Division Commissioner Mary Beth Murphy said in late June that for now U.S. authorities are denying passports rather than revoking them."

According to a bulletin published by the IRS: If you have seriously delinquent tax debt, IRC 7345 authorizes the IRS to certify that debt to the State Department for action. The State Department generally will not issue a passport to you after receiving certification from the IRS.

Upon receiving certification, the State Department shall deny your passport application and/or may revoke your current passport. If your passport application is denied or your passport revoked and you are overseas, the State Department may issue you a limited validity passport good only for direct return to the United States.

Seriously delinquent tax debt is an individual's unpaid, legally enforceable federal tax debt totaling more than $51,000 (including interest and penalties) for which a:
  • Notice of federal tax lien has been filed and all administrative remedies under IRC 6320 have lapsed or been exhausted or
  • Levy has been issued
The complete bulletin is available on the IRS website and is also available via this alternate link.