Internal Revenue Service Cracks Down on Holiday Travelers

The Republican Congress grants the IRS the Authority to Rescind Passports to Prevent Tax-Indebted Citizens from Leaving the Country

The Internal Revenue Service is using its authority to rescind passports of citizens who have unpaid taxes, in effect stopping them from traveling outside the country. The IRS intends to enact the new policy during the Holidays.

In fact, the authority was given to the IRS by Congress to go after people who owe back taxes as they leave on Holiday travel. The 16th Amendment to the Constitution gave the government power to lay and collect taxes, and the IRS is the bureaucracy the government uses to get it.

Tampa tax attorney Darrin T. Mish was quick to recognize the significance of this development, “It appears that the IRS will soon be revoking the passports of taxpayers who owe as little as $50,000. It’s not hard to rack up that much tax debt. The time to act is now to avoid seriously inconvenient complications that will interfere with your international travel.”

The government started collecting taxes in the World War I era. The Internal Revenue Service collects taxes to fund government programs and expenses. The power given to the IRS to rescind passports of US citizens is a new development, and it’s a new tool in the IRS’s toolbox to harass tax payers. Congress attached the provision as part of the highway bill and used the language “seriously delinquent tax debts” to profile people targeted by the IRS’s new policy.

Critics say the collection, intended to offset the highway bill’s cost, is small. The IRS defines “seriously delinquent tax debts” as anything over $50,000 in this instance. Critics of the action have asked whether the Congress expects the revenue generated to actually fund the highway bill. Experts have calculated that the amount collected will fund less than a fraction of one-percent of the highway fund.

The IRS will coordinate with the State Department in naming people whose passport will be revoked. Eight million Americans live and work abroad and may have their passport revoked, even while they are in a foreign country. The IRS’s affinity for high fines and draconian application of fines could mean a simple tax mistake committed by someone overseas could result in a $10,000 fine that can be applied once a month, every month. At that rate, a fine of $50,000 can quickly add up in only 5 months. Since that’s not money owed to the IRS in taxes, the fines on the taxes would qualify as a reason to rescind a citizen’s passport. Anyone traveling abroad now faces the possibility that their passport will be revoked quickly and without warning.

The crowd that believes the government is already locking down citizens in the US believes this will prohibit people from leaving the country, turning America into a prison. It further raises concern that the IRS will use selective inattention when choosing whose visa to rescind and who’s not to rescind. If you are having problems with the IRS, contact tax attorney Darrin T. Mish today.


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