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3 FAQs on passport denial for unpaid taxes

Immigrants and refugees aren't the only people whose travel plans can be affected by changes in federal policy.

Under legislation passed by Congress late in 2015, if you have unpaid taxes that exceed a certain threshold, you could have your passport revoked or have an application for one denied.

In this post, we will use address three common questions about the program the IRS is developing to implement the legislation.

What types of tax debt does the passport legislation apply to?

The legislation applies if you owe the IRS $50,000 or more in unpaid taxes. This amount includes interest and penalties.

There are, however, procedural requirements that the IRS must meet. These involve filing a notice of tax lien or a levy (taking) or issuing a levy.

When will the IRS program to implement this begin?

The program was under development throughout 2016. The IRS is expected to roll it out very soon, with details to be made available on the IRS website.

Procedurally, however, the IRS is not the only agency involved. The IRS will certify taxpayers who meet the criteria to have their passports revoked or denied. But it is the State Department that will actually take action to revoke or deny passports for unpaid taxes.

Are there ways to keep your passport, even if you meet the criteria for revocation or denial?

Yes. One way to do this is to work out an agreement with the IRS to resolve your tax debt. Many people do this by entering into an installment agreement. Another possibility is to get the IRS to accept an offer in compromise (OIC), which resolves your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe.

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