Owe Uncle Sam? You May Have to Give Up Your Passport
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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A provision that was once highly controversial has now become law. President Obama signed the 5-year infrastructure spending bill recently and the bill adds a new section 7345 to the Internal Revenue Code in which your ability to travel internationally with a U.S. passport could be at stake.

The title of the new section is “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies,” and the idea reportedly goes back to 2012, when the Government Accountability Office introduced using the issuance of passports as an opportunity to collect on tax debts.

Details as to how this will be executed are reportedly scant, with various options being possible: from  no new passport, no renewal to State Department rescinding existing passports. The law only applies to those with delinquent tax debt over $50,000.

In most cases, the passport provision would apply if a taxpayer is subject to a lien or a levy, but it wouldn’t apply if a taxpayer is in the process of resolving tax debt with the IRS, such as by paying by installment plan, or if a taxpayer is contesting a collection administratively or in court, David Kautter, a partner at the accounting firm RSM in Washington, told the Wall Street Journal.

There already exists debt-related consequences for passports in terms of child support, such as if you owe $2,500 or more, you are not eligible to receive one.

What are your thoughts on the IRS collecting tax debts before issuing passports? Fair or not? Leave your comments below.

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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.

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