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Can You Travel If You Owe Taxes?

Back Taxes, Tax Consultation, Tax Negotiation and Settlement

If your overwhelming tax debt has you thinking about hopping on a plane to get away, you may be wondering: “Can you travel with tax debts?” In 2015, Barack Obama signed a new law into effect known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act. It included many changes in the transportation industry, including that the IRS can now lawfully deny or restrict individuals with unpaid tax debt from applying for, using or renewing their passports. Along with garnishing wages and claiming your personal property, the IRS has upped the ante in restricting international travel. Unpaid taxes are not something to procrastinate on paying, so keep reading to find out if you could be affected.

A more detailed description of this legislation is described under Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies in the FAST Act. Essentially, the IRS is compelled to start reporting to the State Department specific individuals who have “seriously delinquent tax debt.” After receiving notification, the State Department will revoke or deny your traveling privileges. If you happen to be overseas, they will only grant you privilege for direct return to the United States. The IRS is also required to notify the taxpayer–you will receive Notice 508C–at the last known address on record.

If you have missed a couple of payments or made a few mistakes on your last year’s tax return, there is still hope. The law is geared towards individuals with “seriously delinquent tax debt.” So what does that mean exactly? According to the IRS, it includes:

  • Individuals who have debt accrued to more than $51,000 including interest and penalties
  • Individuals who have received a levy notice from the IRS
  • Individuals who received a Federal Tax Lien and have already received a Due Collection Hearing or failed to appear on the scheduled hearing date

This policy does NOT include individuals who are enrolled in a scheduled installment plan and have made on-time payments, have filed bankruptcy or are in an offer in compromise plan with the IRS. There are more exceptions to the policy and you can view a comprehensive of list of extenuating circumstances here.

Unresolved tax debt is a financial burden that should not be ignored. Although this may not apply to you now, it is important to note that interest and penalties can add up quickly. If you find yourself in a constant state of anxiety over unpaid tax debt, then it is time to enlist the help of a tax professional. Civic Tax Relief is committed to helping you achieve financial freedom. Contact us today!

If you have questions or would like a consultation about your specific tax situation, contact us online or give us a call at (800) 857-5455.