Failing to pay your taxes could mean that you’ll lose your right to travel abroad. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is cracking down on people who are late with their tax payments by going after passports.
Can the IRS really take your passport?
Yes. The IRS really can call for your passport to be revoked. However, you could still be in trouble even if it looks like your passport status has remained untouched. People with existing passports may not be able to renew those passports when the time comes if they owe taxes. Just how much do you have to owe to get on the list? A person owing $51,000 or more is usually considered to be seriously delinquent.
The IRS won’t actually be the agency that prohibits you from getting a passport if you owe tax payments. The IRS is simply reporting your delinquent status to the State Department. The good news is that the IRS does have some options that could help you to avoid losing passport privileges.
Several resources are available if you are having trouble catching up with tax payments. The IRS often works with delinquent payers to create payment plans. You could also seek assistance outside of the IRS to catch up on payments. There are many groups and organizations throughout the country that work with people who are having trouble making tax payments.
What if the reason you’re having tax issues is beyond your control?
There’s a chance that your tax information is a mess because something like fraud has occurred, you’re the victim of a natural disaster or you’re going through bankruptcy. The good news is that the IRS won’t report you if your issues are resulting from one of these unfortunate exceptions.
How will you know if the IRS is coming after your passport?
You will receive a notice from the IRS regarding your unpaid tax bill if you fall into the passport danger zone. Unfortunately, your name may be passed on to the State Department if you don’t do anything to take care of the situation.
One scary possibility is that the State Department could actually revoke your passport while you’re in another country. While that would cause a headache, it doesn’t mean that you will be banned from coming home. The State Department will likely issue you a limited passport that will allow you to return to the United States if you get into this situation.
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