Part II: How Tax Debt May Keep You From Traveling–Even Within The US

A New Law Means That Delinquent Taxpayers May Lose Their Passports

Part II

A recently passed law–known as the “FAST Act”–now requires that the IRS notify the US State Department of citizens who are seriously delinquent on unpaid taxes–those who owe in excess of $50,000 and are under a tax lien. Once the IRS sends a certification of this delinquency, the State Department may revoke a person’s passport.

Obviously, loss of a passport would prevent a US citizen from traveling outside of the US. It’s also a potential issue for the millions of Americans who live outside of the US.

But this may even affect some Americans’ domestic travel, too.

As explained in Forbes, federal law requires valid identification for air travel. If you don’t have a passport, the current acceptable forms of identification include a Global Entry card, a U.S. military ID, an airline or airport-issued ID, or a federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID.

The REAL ID Act of 2005 mandates that federal agencies can’t accept state driver’s licenses or ID cards, if the states don’t comply with federal standards. And there are a number of states that don’t meet the federal requirements. Furthermore, some state IDs are currently acceptable to use, but they will fall out of compliance later this year.

Thus a tax debt that strips someone of his passport, that could soon stop him from even interstate travel. Given this possibility, some legal experts are wondering if the law is even constitutional, and they believe that a court challenge is inevitable.

Regardless the status of FAST implementation, concerns about the new law are a good reminder for all of us (even if we don’t have any tax issues), before traveling, to make sure our IDs comply with federal requirements. Don’t just go to the airport and hope for the best. If you have a concern, it’s better to call your airline or the National Passport Information Center at 877-487-2778. Further if you owe the IRS $50,000 or more, please do not wait, call us at 720-398-6088.