You may not be able to get a passport or renew your existing passport if you owe the IRS money. However, the IRS only goes after a taxpayer’s passport when there is a significant amount owed and certain other procedures have been followed.
Whether your passport is at risk will depend on the amount you owe, what notices you’ve received from the IRS, and whether you are trying to work out a payment arrangement or tax resolution.
How Much Do You Owe?
If you owe under $52,000 (including interest and penalties), your passport is safe. If your just under this amount, keep in mind that it’s easier to protect your passport before the IRS certifies your debt to the State Department.
Taxpayers who owe over $52,000 still won’t automatically face a passport revocation or denial until other criteria are met.
Seriously Delinquent Tax Debt
Your tax debt must also be considered seriously delinquent before the IRS will come after your passport. This means that the IRS has either issued a Notice of Federal Tax Lien or a tax levy, and that your appeal rights have expired or been exhausted.
Until one of these actions takes place, your tax debt is not yet seriously delinquent, and you still have a chance to avoid certification to the State Department.
IRS Passport Letter
Even if you meet the two conditions listed above, the IRS still has to give you notice that your tax debt is being certified. The IRS Passport Letter is given on Notice CP508C.
Once you receive this notice, you don’t have much time to try to avoid the certification. Contact a tax attorney immediately if you want to protect your right to leave the country.
Avoiding or Reversing Certification
Is it possible to owe the IRS more than $52,000 while still keeping your passport? Yes, but you will need to enter into a payment plan or settle your tax debt in some other way.
Offers in Compromise and innocent spouse relief can also be used to get the certification reversed. If the certification hasn’t happened yet, you could use other strategies to avoid it, such as requesting currently not collectible status.
If you owe the IRS money, keep this information in mind before you book your next international vacation. Consult a tax attorney if you need help resolving your IRS tax debt problems.
The Gartzman Law Firm can help you with passport actions and other IRS tax problems. Use our contact form to request a consultation with an Atlanta tax resolution attorney.