Can I Get a Passport if I Owe Taxes?

Obtaining a passport is essential for international travel. However, certain factors can hinder passport issuance, including unpaid taxes. This article examines the consequences of owing taxes on passport eligibility and the steps to resolve the issue.

Consequences of Unpaid Taxes on Passport Eligibility

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the authority to certify seriously delinquent tax debts to the State Department. Upon receiving such certification, the State Department may:

  • Deny passport applications: Individuals with certified tax debts may be denied a passport if they apply for one.
  • Revoke existing passports: The State Department may revoke the passports of individuals who have certified tax debts.

What Constitutes a Seriously Delinquent Tax Debt?

According to the IRS, a seriously delinquent tax debt meets the following criteria:

  • Unpaid federal tax debt (including penalties and interest) exceeding $62,000 (adjusted annually for inflation)
  • Legally enforceable
  • All administrative remedies have been exhausted or the IRS has issued a levy

Exceptions to Passport Denial or Revocation

Not all tax debts result in passport denial or revocation. The following debts are exempt:

  • Child support
  • Debts under timely payment through IRS-approved installment agreements
  • Debts under timely payment with an offer in compromise accepted by the IRS
  • Foreign Bank and Financial Account (FBAR) penalties
  • Settlement agreements with the Department of Justice
  • Debts for which a collection due process hearing has been requested
  • Debts suspended due to innocent spouse relief

Steps to Resolve Tax Debt and Obtain a Passport

If you have a certified tax debt, you must resolve it with the IRS to obtain or maintain your passport. Options include:

  • Full payment: Paying the debt in full
  • Installment agreement: Setting up a payment plan with the IRS
  • Offer in compromise: Negotiating a settlement with the IRS
  • Innocent spouse relief: Requesting relief if you are not responsible for the debt

Contacting the IRS

To resolve your tax debt, contact the IRS at:

  • Phone: 1-855-519-4965 or 1-267-941-1004 (international)
  • Mail: Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Attn: Passport, PO Box 8208, Philadelphia, PA 19101-8208

Owing taxes can impact your passport eligibility. If you have a seriously delinquent tax debt, it is crucial to resolve it promptly to avoid passport denial or revocation. By taking the necessary steps to address your tax obligations, you can ensure that your travel plans are not hindered.

Can You Get a Passport If You Owe Taxes?


How much can you owe in taxes and still get a passport?

Your tax debt must meet these qualifications in order for the IRS to certify it to the State Department: You owe a total $59,000 or more in past due taxes, penalties and interest (as of 2023).

What disqualifies from getting a passport?

Reasons for denying a passport include a valid, unsealed federal warrant of arrest, a federal or state criminal court order, a condition of parole or probation forbidding departure from the United States (or the jurisdiction of the court), or a request for extradition.

What is considered delinquent federal tax debt?

Delinquent taxes refer to any unpaid taxes. Tax delinquency occurs as soon as you miss the deadline to file a tax return or pay the taxes due. Any type of tax can become delinquent.

How will I know if my passport is denied?

If the application is denied, the Department of State will send the applicant a written notice setting forth the reasons for the denial and procedures for review.

Can I get a passport if I owe a tax debt?

When the IRS certifies to the State Department that a taxpayer owes a seriously delinquent tax debt, currently $52,000 or more, it means the taxpayer can’t obtain or renew a passport with the State Department. At any time prior to such a certification, an eligible taxpayer can obtain or renew a passport with the State Department.

Can a state revoke a passport if you owe taxes?

In some cases, the State Department may revoke their passport. A taxpayer with a seriously delinquent tax debt is generally someone who owes the IRS more than $52,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest for which the IRS has filed a Notice of Federal Tax Lien and the period to challenge it has expired or the IRS has issued a levy.

Can I Lose my passport if I owe taxes?

Thus, if you don’t want to lose your passport due to unpaid taxes, you should resolve your tax issues and pay your owed taxes as soon as possible. Indeed, having seriously delinquent tax debt may lead to passport revocation or denial in your passport renewal.

Can I get a passport if I don’t pay taxes?

This is done through Internal Revenue Code 7345. In addition to preventing the issuance of passports to people who fail to pay taxes, the IRS can prevent those who already have passports from using them. That being said, a few mistakes on your tax forms won’t have the IRS coming after you.

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