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The IRS Can Nix Your Right to Travel: “They Could Revoke Your Passport on Your Honeymoon”

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Never mind the fact that the IRS itself has been unconstitutionally taxing most Americans for the past century.

If you are found to be delinquent in paying your taxes,the IRS can now revoke your passport, and prevent you from traveling until you’ve been cleared by the tax behemoth.

As USA Today reports:

A new enforcement provision passed by Congress and signed into law earlier this month allows the government to revoke the passports of seriously delinquent tax scofflaws — people who owe more than $50,000 to Uncle Sam.



“You could be on your honeymoon and they could revoke your passport,” said Tom Wheelwright, a certified public accountant and chief executive officer at ProVision Wealth Strategists in Tempe, Ariz.

Some details still need to be worked out, but the new passport rule indicates the government wants to get serious about collecting unpaid tax debts. The IRS reported 12.4 million delinquent accounts owing nearly $131 billion in assessed taxes, interest and penalties in 2014.

In addition to going after delinquent taxpayers by revoking their passports, the FAST Act highway-transportation bill signed by President Obama on Dec. 4 also gives private debt collectors a shot at forcing taxpayers to make good on their debts. The act includes a mandate that the Internal Revenue Service turn over certain unpaid tax delinquencies to private debt collectors.

The passport-revoking provision allows the Department of the Treasury and the IRS to authorize the State Department to take away U.S. passports from individuals with seriously delinquent tax liabilities. That’s defined as those greater than $50,000 and for which the IRS has filed a lien or levy, according to Matthew D. Lee of law firm Blank Rome. In a blog, he described the passport-revoking provision as a “powerful tool to force tax compliance.” Affected taxpayers would receive written notice.

Obviously, the emphasis is on revenue generation and the recovery tax money owed.

The rules have not all been worked out, but it appears that Americans who are already out of the country when their passports are revoked would likely be allowed to come back home.

But the larger issue is the overlapping of policies that are not always fair, which become even less fair when intertwined to enforce government policy – creating a serious risk of violating rights.

The threshold is $50,000, which initially seems like it would apply only to big fish; but when you factor in all the penalties and stacked fines that can be rapidly levied by the IRS, it really could happen to almost anyone. That might especially be true for expats, who often get caught up in tax liens when the IRS merely intends to investigate whether persons overseas have been paying their dues.

But the sudden loss of income, employment or mistakes in calculating tax liabilities could all factor into being unable to pay, and yet these…