The Wall Street Journal recently reported that those who owe more than $51,000 to the IRS will be prevented from getting a new or renewing their passport. This new law, which went into effect in March 2018, could affect an estimated 363,000 people who fall into this category. At this point, the government is not revoking the passports of those who owe money. It will also send a notice to citizens if their passport application privileges have been revoked.

According to the story, the new law has already had an impact with 220 people paying more than $11.5 million to repay their full debt. It adds that another 1,400 have set up payment plans to take care of their tax obligations. According to a spokesperson at the IRS, one individual paid over $1 million to avoid not getting a passport.

Who will be denied?

Individuals with delinquent debt to the IRS will be prevented from getting a passport if:

  • A notice that the federal tax lien has been filed and all administrative options have been exhausted or lapsed.
  • A levy has been issued

Once the payment has been received or arrangement approved, the IRS will lift revocation within 30 days. The law does offer exceptions for victims of identity theft, those who live in a declared disaster zone or claiming innocent-spouse relief.

Guidance for those with tax debt

The tax system is complicated with a dizzying array of instructions and guidelines. An attorney with experience in tax law issues can be helpful in navigating this maze, including when the IRS revokes your passport privileges.