By law dated December 4, 2015, Congress authorized a procedure to allow the IRS to restrict passport rights for taxpayers with “seriously delinquent tax debts.” The persons affected include taxpayers who: (i) owe $50,000 or more in aggregated federal tax, penalties, and interest, and (ii) have received a federal tax levy or lien regarding their liability. Once a taxpayer meets this criteria, the IRS may send a “certification” of the tax debt to the U.S. State Department, who then has the discretion to deny or delay new passport applications and revoke existing passports. Taxpayers will receive at least one notice from the IRS advising them that they have a “seriously delinquent tax debt” and have been reported to the State Department.

The IRS recently announced that it will begin certifying taxpayers with “seriously delinquent tax debts” to the State Department beginning in January 2018. In a matter of weeks, thousands of U.S. taxpayers may be restricted from traveling.

Anyone who thinks they face a risk to their passport rights because of a “seriously delinquent tax debt” should contact a tax professional immediately to resolve their federal tax liability and minimize the risk that they will lose their right to travel. Our firm assists taxpayers in crafting resolutions to bring taxpayers into compliance with the IRS and minimize or prevent any negative consequences. However, time is of the essence, as certain resolution options lapse with time.

Sandra Mertens


Sandra D. Mertens
[email protected]