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Can You Stop the IRS from Taking Your Passport?

Passport denial and revocation

The IRS can ask the State Department to deny your passport application or even revoke your passport if you have seriously delinquent tax debt.  There are several ways to avoid IRS passport actions or to get your passport back after a denial or revocation.

Key Insights We Will Discuss:

  1.  The criteria that must be met before the IRS can certify your tax debt to the State Department.
  2. How to avoid certification while simultaneously resolving your tax problems.
  3. How to reverse a certification and regain the use of your passport.

Avoiding IRS Passport Actions

The easiest way to protect your passport is to avoid meeting the criteria for a certification of your tax debt to the State Department in the first place.  The IRS will only certify your tax debt if you owe at least $52,000 in back taxes, penalties, and interest and the IRS has already issued a Notice of Federal Tax Lien or a levy against your assets.

Even if you meet these criteria, the IRS won’t certify your tax debt if you negotiated tax resolution such as an installment agreement or Offer in Compromise.  Taxpayers who are in bankruptcy, have been a victim of tax-related identity theft, or who meet other exceptions also won’t have their tax debt certified.

If you resolve your tax problems now, you won’t have to worry about IRS passport actions as long as you comply with the terms of your agreement.

Imminent Passport Denials and Revocations

If your tax debt has already been certified to the State Department, you will need to act quickly to protect your passport.  In most cases, the State Department will not issue a passport renewal once your tax debt has been certified.

You can reverse your certification by entering into a payment agreement or by showing why the certification was erroneous.  Certification will also be reversed if your tax debt becomes unenforceable, such as when the statute of limitations on collections has expired.

In extreme cases, the IRS can ask the State Department to revoke your current passport.  These cases generally involve taxpayers wh0 have made promises to the IRS and then failed to keep them or who have offshore activities and may be incentivized to pay their tax debt if their passport is revoked.

Before your passport can be revoked, you will receive a Letter 6152 and be given 30 days to resolve your tax problems.  If you need your passport for business or pleasure, contact a tax attorney immediately for assistance.

Contact an Attorney

To get help with IRS passport actions, call Ayar Law at 800.571.7175 to receive free, no-obligation tax advice.

Executive Summary:

The IRS can certify seriously delinquent tax debt to the State Department.  This may result in a passport revocation or denial of your passport application.  You can avoid or reverse a tax debt certification by negotiating a payment arrangement with the IRS.

Venar Ayar, Esq.

Venar Ayar, Esq.

Attorney-at-Law, Master of Laws in Taxation
Principal and founder, Ayar Law

Venar is an award-winning tax attorney ranked as a Top Lawyer in the field of Tax Law. Mr. Ayar has a Master of Laws in Taxation – the highest degree available in tax, held by only a small number of the country’s attorneys.