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Could Your Passport Be Revoked for Delinquent Tax Debts


Do you have a big trip planned overseas? If so, you might want to make sure you don’t have any outstanding tax debt with the IRS. One of the ways the IRS enforces consequences on individuals with outstanding tax debts is by revoking passports. In 2018, the IRS issued a statement that they would begin the process of revoking passports of American taxpayers with “seriously delinquent tax debts,”—or debts totaling more than $50,000. This amount includes the principal of the debt along with any accrued interest and fines.


If you have significant debt with the IRS and are concerned about having your passport revoked, it’s important to take action. Working with a skilled tax attorney is one of the best ways to get on top of your tax situation and handle communications with the IRS. Here is some important information to know about tax debt and how it could affect your passport in California.


How the IRS Revokes Taxpayers’ Passports

While you’ll often hear tax professionals refer to the IRS revoking passports, it’s technically the State Department that officially takes action to revoke a passport. The IRS will identify taxpayers who owe more than $50,000 and notify the State Department by sending a certification of their outstanding debt and a request for their passports to be revoked. Then, the IRS will notify the taxpayer that their passport is in the process of being revoked by sending a notice to their address on file.


Unfortunately, the IRS does not send taxpayers any advance warning that their passport is in jeopardy. However, the State Department will wait three months after the IRS sends them the request before they officially revoke the passport, meaning there is technically a grace period after a taxpayer receives the notice from the IRS. This grace period is supposed to provide the taxpayer with time to pay their debt or enter an installment plan with the IRS. However, this “grace period” is often not enough time to resolve the debt.


What To Do If You Receive a Notice That Your Passport is Revoked

If you receive a notice that the IRS has requested the State Department to revoke your passport, it’s essential to take action. The easiest way to resolve this issue is to pay your taxes. Even if you can’t pay the amount in full, you can negotiate with the IRS to enter an installment plan. If you pay your bill in total or enter an approved repayment plan, the IRS will reverse their request for your passport to be revoked.


Alternatively, if you completely disagree with the amount the IRS says you owe or you’ve already paid the debt in question, you should contact the phone number listed on your notice. Individuals who have already paid their debt should send proof of their payment.


What to Do If You Have Imminent Travel Plans

If you have international travel plans, you should contact the IRS as soon as possible and let them know you have scheduled travels plans within 45 days. The IRS will work with you to resolve your tax issues and can expedite the reversal of their request. If the IRS expedites its certification reversal, it will typically take 14 to 21 days to take effect. To have the IRS reverse their request you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Proof of travel. You’ll need to submit proof of travel in the form of hotel reservations, air ticket receipts, or any other documents showing the need for a passport.

  • A copy of the letter the State Department sent you notifying you of revoking your passport.

If you have significant tax debt, working with a skilled tax attorney is the best strategy for getting on top of the situation.


Choose Morgan Sebastian for Help With Your Tax Debt

At Morgan Sebastian Law, Attorney Becky Sebastian is eager to help you navigate the complexities of resolving your tax debts. As a trusted tax resolution lawyer, Attorney Becky Sebastian has years of experience representing business owners and individuals who are experiencing tax audits, wage garnishment, and other tax-related issues. She can provide you with the professionalism and peace of mind you deserve when dealing with the IRS.


To schedule a consultation with an experienced tax resolution lawyer, call (877) 223-6605 or fill out our online contact form.