Can You Get a Passport Even if You Owe Taxes to the IRS?

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If you’re planning to travel abroad, you may be wondering if your tax debt will prevent you from obtaining a passport. The answer is yes, but it depends on the circumstances. To help you navigate this tricky situation, we’ve decided to put together a brief discussion on this topic. If this is something that you’re keen on learning more about, here’s a brief discussion on the conditions under which you can get a passport even if you owe taxes to the IRS.

The Passport Denial Program

The Passport Denial Program is a law that allows the IRS to deny a U.S. citizen’s passport application or renewal if they owe $51,000 or more in federal taxes, penalties, or interest. The program was created in 2015 as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, and it aims to encourage taxpayers to pay their tax debts.

The IRS will notify the State Department about the tax debt, and the State Department will then deny the passport application or renewal. If you owe taxes and are planning to travel abroad, it’s essential to address your tax debt before applying for or renewing your passport.

Exceptions to the Passport Denial Program

There are exceptions to the Passport Denial Program, which means you may still be able to get a passport even if you owe taxes to the IRS. These exceptions include:

1. You’re in a Payment Plan

If you’re in a payment plan with the IRS to pay off your tax debt, you can still get a passport. However, you must be current on your payments, and the total amount you owe must be less than $51,000.

2. You Have a Pending Offer in Compromise

If you have a pending offer in compromise with the IRS, you can still get a passport. An offer in compromise is an agreement between you and the IRS to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. However, you must be current on your payments under the offer in compromise.

3. You’re in Bankruptcy

If you’re in bankruptcy, you can still get a passport. However, you must provide proof of your bankruptcy status to the State Department.

4. You Have an Emergency

If you have a life-threatening emergency, you can still get a passport even if you owe taxes to the IRS. An emergency is defined as a situation that requires immediate travel due to the death or serious illness of a family member, business emergency, or other urgent matter.

What to Do if You Owe Taxes and Need a Passport

If you owe taxes to the IRS and need a passport, the first step is to address your tax debt. Here are some options to consider:

1. Payment plan

If you owe less than $51,000, you can set up a payment plan with the IRS to pay off your tax debt. A payment plan allows you to pay off your tax debt over time and avoid the Passport Denial Program.

2. Offer in compromise

If you owe more than $51,000, you may be able to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe through an offer in compromise. However, this option requires you to meet specific criteria, and not everyone is eligible.

3. Bankruptcy

If you’re in bankruptcy, you can still get a passport. However, you must provide proof of your bankruptcy status to the State Department.

4. Emergency Passport

If you have an emergency that requires immediate travel, you can still get a passport even if you owe taxes to the IRS. However, you must provide proof of your emergency to the State Department.

Conclusion

It is possible to get a passport even if you owe taxes to the IRS, but it depends on the circumstances. If you owe $51,000 or more in federal taxes, penalties, or interest, the Passport Denial Program may prevent you from obtaining a passport. However, there are exceptions to this rule, including if you’re in a payment plan, have a pending offer in compromise, are in bankruptcy, or have an emergency.

If you owe taxes to the IRS and need a passport, the best course of action is to address your tax debt. You can set up a payment plan, apply for an offer in compromise, or file for bankruptcy.

In any case, it’s essential to consult with a tax professional or an attorney to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. By addressing your tax debt, you can avoid the Passport Denial Program and ensure that you’re able to travel abroad when necessary.

Need help resolving your tax issues? Contact the Law Offices of Stephen B. Kass, P.C. today and schedule a consultation with a skilled tax attorney. Our team has the expertise and experience to guide you through the complexities of tax law and find the best solution.

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