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Owe Back Taxes? It Could Cost You Your Passport

It’s been about 18 months since the IRS and State Department were legally allowed to strip passports from people who owed an excessive amount of back taxes. Enforcement, though, is finally ramping up.

Some 400,000 taxpayers have been alerted that their passports are in jeopardy, due to unpaid tax bills of $52,000 or more, according to CNBC. As of July 1, only 200 of those people had paid their bills, with another 1,400 entering into payment agreements.

The IRS gained the ability to confiscate passports as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The IRS alerts the State Department, which is required to deny any passport application or denial from the taxpayer and gives the agency the right to revoke any existing passport if it chooses.

“The IRS may recommend revocation if the IRS had reversed a taxpayer’s certification because of their promise to pay, and they failed to pay,” said the tax agency. “The IRS may also ask State to revoke a passport if the taxpayer could use offshore activities or interests to resolve their debt but chooses not to.”

The IRS alerted delinquent taxpayers it would be taking increased advantage of the FAST Act in a press release last week.

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