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Navigate Freedom: Solutions for Passport Revocation

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Should you require your passport urgently, contact us without delay. As tax professionals, we are well-versed in the IRS system.

In cases of significant delinquent tax debt, the IRS is legally authorized to certify this debt to the State Department for necessary action.

Upon receiving certification from the IRS, the State Department typically refrains from issuing a passport to the individual in question.

Your passport application may be denied, or your existing passport may be revoked by the State Department. If you find yourself outside the country, the State Department might provide you with a limited validity passport, allowing for a direct return to the United States.

What tax debt does the IRS certify to the State Department?

The IRS sends certification of seriously delinquent tax debt to the State Department. Such debt pertains to an individual’s unpaid and legally binding federal tax obligations (including interest and penalties) that exceed $54,000 (an amount adjusted annually for inflation). This certification occurs when either:

1. A notice of federal tax lien has been filed, and all legal administrative remedies have either lapsed or been fully utilized, or
2. A levy has been issued.

What tax debt does the IRS not certify to the State Department?

Certain tax debts are not classified as seriously delinquent tax debt, including penalties related to the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Account (FBAR) and obligations related to child support.

Additionally, the following types of tax debt are excluded from the classification of seriously delinquent:

1. Debt being paid in a timely manner through an installment agreement that has been approved by the IRS,
2. Debt being paid on time through an Offer in Compromise accepted by the IRS or a settlement agreement reached with the Justice Department,
3. Debt for which a collection due process hearing has been timely requested concerning a levy intended to collect that debt,
4. Debt for which the collection process has been suspended due to a request for innocent spouse relief having been submitted.

Also, the IRS will not certify anyone as owing a seriously delinquent tax debt:

  • Who’s in bankruptcy,
  • Who’s identified by the IRS as a victim of tax-related identity theft,
  • Whose account the IRS has determined is currently not collectible due to hardship,
  • Who’s located within a federally declared disaster area,
  • Who has a request pending with the IRS for an installment agreement,
  • Who has a pending Offer in Compromise with the IRS, and
  • Who has an IRS accepted adjustment that will satisfy the debt in full.

Passport Revocation Help

The IRS will postpone certification while an individual is serving in a designated combat zone or participating in a contingency operation.

How it works

Certification to the State. The IRS will send you Notice CP508C at the time the IRS certifies seriously delinquent tax debt to the State Department. The IRS will send the notice by regular mail to your last known address. Your power of attorney will not receive a copy of the notice.

Before denying a passport, the State Department will hold your application for 90 days to allow you to:

  • Resolve any erroneous certification issues
  • Make full payment of the tax debt
  • Enter a satisfactory payment arrangement with the IRS

Reversal of certification.

The IRS will send you Notice CP508R at the time it reverses certification. The IRS will reverse a certification when:

  • The tax debt is fully satisfied or becomes legally unenforceable,
  • The tax debt is no longer seriously delinquent, or
  • The certification is erroneous.

The IRS will make this reversal within 30 days and provide notification to the State Department as soon as practicable.
The IRS will not reverse certification if your request for a collection due process hearing or innocent spouse relief is on a debt that’s not certified. Also, the IRS will not reverse the certification because you pay the debt below the threshold.

Referral to revoke passport.

The State Department might be requested by the IRS to withdraw your passport if you fail to pay taxes. For instance, your certification could be reversed by the IRS due to your assurance to pay but not having made the payment. If you choose not to use offshore activities or interests to settle your debt, the IRS could ask the State Department to revoke your passport. To avoid this action, a Letter 6152 will be sent to you by the IRS, requesting that you contact them within 30 days to resolve your account.

Judicial review of certification.

In these matters, the State Department is protected from liability and cannot be sued for any incorrect notification or failure to decertify under the existing laws.

If the IRS has certified your debt to the State Department, you have the right to file a lawsuit in either the U.S. Tax Court or a U.S. District Court. The purpose of this suit would be to have the court assess whether the certification is mistaken or whether the IRS neglected to reverse the certification when obliged to do so. If the court concludes that the certification was incorrect or should be reversed, it has the power to direct the IRS to inform the State Department of the error in certification.

However, the law does not grant the court the authority to discharge a lien or levy, nor to award monetary damages, in a suit aimed at determining whether a certification is wrong. Additionally, you are not obligated to submit an administrative claim or engage with the IRS to rectify the erroneous certification issue prior to initiating a lawsuit in either the U.S. Tax Court or a U.S. District Court.

What to do

Settling Taxes.

If you are unable to pay the full amount of the taxes you owe, you have the option to arrange alternative payment methods such as establishing a payment plan or proposing an Offer in Compromise to reverse the certification.
Should you disagree with the tax amount or believe that the certification was made in error, you are advised to call the phone number listed on Notice CP508C: 855-519-4965; or 267-941-1004 for international callers. If the tax debt has already been paid, you should forward proof of payment to the address specified on Notice CP508C.
Additionally, if you have recently submitted your tax return for the current year and anticipate a refund, the IRS will allocate that refund towards your debt. If the refund is sufficient to cover your seriously delinquent tax debt, the IRS will deem the account as fully satisfied.

Passport status.

If your U.S. passport application is denied or your existing passport is revoked, the State Department will inform you in writing.

Should you require your U.S. passport for employment purposes, and the IRS has certified your seriously delinquent tax debt to the State Department, you will need to either pay the debt in full or arrange an alternative payment plan to reverse the certification.

Imminent travel plans.

If you have upcoming international travel and need to address passport issues due to a pending U.S. passport application or renewal, contacting the IRS without delay is crucial. The IRS has the ability to help you resolve your tax problems and expedite the reversal of your certification to the State Department, often reducing the standard 30-day processing time by 14 to 21 days. If you have travel planned within the next 45 days or live abroad, you’ll need to notify the IRS and provide them with the following documents:

  • Evidence of travel plans, such as a flight itinerary, hotel reservation, cruise ticket, international car insurance, or another document that indicates the location and approximate travel date or demonstrates an urgent need for a passport.
  • A copy of the letter from the State Department denying your passport application or revoking your existing passport. The authority to issue, limit, deny, or revoke a passport rests solely with the State Department.

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