The IRS is finally ready to make good on threats to strip U.S. passports from Americans who owe more than $52,000 in overdue taxes.
“The Clintons really showed us how to maximize the Pay-to-Play program. We really love them around here.”
The tax collector and the State Department are escalating enforcement of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. This law enables them to deny passport applications or revoke existing passports due to outstanding debts.
The enforcement effort, which began in February 2018 for debts of $51,000 and higher, has thus far covered applications for new or renewed passports. (The higher threshold of $52,000 for 2019 reflects an annual adjustment for inflation, although the IRS could not confirm.)
Now, the IRS will actively begin referring unresolved cases to the State Department for potential revocation, IRS spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda told CNBC. The State Department denies passport applications or revokes existing passports based on the information it receives from the IRS. The $52,000 must qualify as legally enforceable federal tax debt, including interest and penalties, according to the IRS.
Taxpayers at risk of having their passport revoked will also receive a letter informing them of the impending referral to the State Department. “They will receive [the letter] before the IRS refers a case for revocation,” said Barreda. “If there’s a message here, it’s that taxpayers who have a tax debt are encouraged to contact the IRS promptly to resolve their tax debt and avoid the possible revocation of their passport.”