A passport is an all-important document you need to travel outside of the United States. However, you may have difficulty obtaining one if you owe back taxes to the IRS. You cannot only be prevented from applying for a passport if you currently have a passport, but it can also be revoked if you owe taxes.
If you are overseas, then you may find your passport limited because of your debt. Your taxes must be settled in order to travel freely. Here is a closer look at what happens when you want a passport but have tax debt.
“Garnish” is also often referred to as a “levy”, but they mean the same thing. In both instances, it means that the US Government is deciding to seize the money you earn before it hits your bank account to pay back debts that you owe to the IRS. As you might guess, this makes many people quite upset and angry.
Certified Tax Debt
Serious tax debt is certified by IRS and sent to the state department. Anyone owing more than $54,000 inclusive of penalties and interests for which a federal tax lien has been filed or a levy issued can have their debt certified by the IRS.
Once your debt is certified, it becomes an official record and will be referenced whenever you apply for a passport.
Tax Debts that are Not Certified by IRS
Some tax debt will not be included in a delinquent tax debt report. Child support debt is exempt from being certified by the IRS to the state department. If you have debt that is being paid in an installment agreement to the IRS, this will not be certified to the state department.
If you have requested a collection hearing or are currently paying off your debt to the IRS on a payment plan, the IRS will not certify your debt.
A settlement agreement with the justice department exempts you from having your debt certified. The IRS will also not certify any debt that can prevent you from getting a passport once you have filed for bankruptcy or have been the victim of identity theft that impacted your tax payments.
Additionally, if the IRS determines that they cannot collect from you due to financial hardship or living in a disaster area, they cannot certify your debt and prevent you from getting a passport.
How It All Works
The IRS will send you a notice whenever they find seriously delinquent tax debt on your part. Before your passport application is denied, it will be held for three months.
During this time, you can fix incorrect certification issues, make complete payment of your tax debt or enter into a payment agreement with the IRS.
Once you’ve done everything mentioned above, the IRS will send you a notice that they have reversed the certification of your debt. As soon as the reversal is done, you can safely apply for a passport knowing that it will be approved.
Essential Steps to Take
The first and easiest thing you can do is to pay off your taxes; if you cannot pay the full amount, we can assist you with alternative options for paying off your tax debt. If you think the tax amount does not indicate how much you owe, contact us immediately to discuss the discrepancy.
If you have already paid the tax, but your certification has not been reversed, you can send proof of the payment to the address that is on the notice.
Notice of Passport Status
If your passport application is denied or your passport is revoked, the state department will let you know in writing. If you need a U.S. passport to keep your current job, you cannot be exempted from being certified as a delinquent in paying your taxes.
While the IRS may sympathize with your current situation, they cannot help you get a passport to keep your job if you owe a severe tax debt.
The only recourse that you have is to pay off the money that you owe completely or enter into some kind of payment agreement in order for your certification to be reversed.
Your Travel Plans
Denial of a passport application when you are getting ready to travel is frustrating. If you are leaving soon to travel overseas and have a pending application for reversal of tax debt certification, you can contact the IRS directly.
The IRS may expedite the reversal of your tax debt certification to the state department. When this process has been expedited, the IRS may shorten the one-month processing time to as little as fourteen days, although it can still take as long as twenty-one days.
You will need to show the IRS proof that you plan to travel within the next forty-five days or that you live overseas. This proof can come in the form of a flight itinerary, cruise ticket, a hotel reservation, or any other kind of document that shows where you plan to travel and the date of travel.
You will also need to forward a copy of the letter that denied your passport application or revoked your passport. Needless to say, the sooner you can put all of this documentation together and send it off, the more likely it is that the process will finish faster.
Ensure that you have thoroughly checked your documents because if you don’t and anything is missing, the entire process will have to begin again, which can further delay your travel plans.
Time to Travel
Having your passport application denied or your passport revoked when you need to travel is extremely frustrating. However, there is no way to get around the IRS if they have issued a notice stating that you have been delinquent in paying your taxes.
It would be best if you confronted the problem head-on; you will either have to pay what you owe in full or look into one of the various payment plans the IRS offers.
If none of this is possible, then you need to prove to them legally or otherwise that you cannot pay because of your current situation. The good news is that once you resolve the matter, your passport application can be expedited to travel anywhere you want to as soon as possible.
Tax Debt Relief Experts Working For you
If you find yourself in debt to the IRS and cannot get your passport, don’t panic. There are systems in place designed to help those who need assistance and time to pay their debt to the IRS. If you need assistance with your tax debt, you can read our tax debt relief overview of the available plans and get in touch with our team of tax professionals by phone (888-548-0478) or email.