IRS Tax Attorneys Warn of New Passport Revocation Risk for Unpaid IRS Tax Debts

WALLINGFORD, Conn. – Pending federal legislation threatens to revoke the passports of individuals with unpaid IRS tax debts, warned Anthony E. Parent, Esq, founding partner of  The Law Offices of Parent, Parent & Wynn LLP and creator of the website

The law, H.R.22, has already been passed by both the US House and Senate, and is likely to become a Federal Statute.

“This is a very serious development for IRS tax attorneys and their clients,” said Parent. “This bill, if it goes into law, will have huge implications for those with federal tax debts wishing to apply for or use a currently-held passport.”

Part of the “Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy” (DRIVE) Act of 2015, which funds highway construction, H.R.22 provides what is known as an “offset,” of fund collecting mechanism to help the government pay for transportation. In this case, the offset involves more aggressive tax debt collection techniques. Under the DRIVE Act, people who owe more than $50,000 in federal taxes may have their passports revoked by the Department of State or be categorically denied a passport when applying for one. Parent noted that there are some exemptions, such as people currently involved in a “collections alternative” or those who have submitted an IRS offer in compromise, an appeal against a levy (such as a Collections Due Process Hearing), or are protected under Innocent Spouse Relief.

IRSMedic offers those affected by this new law some guidance. “Simply owing money to the IRS won’t get your passport revoked or application denied,” Parented added. “Owing back taxes and ignoring the problem can lead to passport issues, however. As long as you’re working towards resolving your debt, we at IRSMedic predict that you will still be able to travel freely.” At the same time, violators risk being placed on “Customs Hold” through the Treasury Department’s Treasury Enforcement Communication System (TECS). Once this happens, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notifies the IRS whenever the taxpayer travels into the United States. The IRS has gained access to Customs and Border Patrol databases. The agency has the ability to red flag the names of individuals, and prevents them from leaving the United States.

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