IRS Gains Power Over Passports
1 Jan 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 2.48.03 PMAs of 2016, some travelers may be required to have a passport for not only international travel, but domestic flights, too. The new travel regulations are a result of the Real ID Act, which was recently signed into law.

The Real ID Act created a national standard for state-issued IDs. Initially, some state feared that the federal government would compile a national database of citizens. Other states worried about increased administrative costs and higher fees for drivers. New Hampshire, New York, Louisiana, and Minnesota have still not met the Real ID Act’s standards. As a result, travelers from these four states may be required to have a passport for domestic flights in 2016.

TSA will accept $55 passport cards or $135 passport books from these travelers. The date on which TSA will start requiring passports from residents of New Hampshire, New York, Louisiana, and Minnesota differs from state-to-state, as New York, New Hampshire, and Louisiana have all received waivers, which will postpone the passport requirement. Minnesota travelers, on the other hand, have been advised to bring passports to the airport as early as January 2016.

Though only a small number of travelers will be required to present passports for domestic flights in the near future, H.R. 22, which was passed by both the house and senate in 2016, will affect many more travelers. The law adds a new section to the Tax Code, entitled “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies.”

This means that the State Department has the legal power to cancel, deny, or place restrictions on a passport for any person who owes the IRS $50,000 or more. Administrative details on how this process will work are not yet concrete, but it is likely that those who owe an excess amount to the IRS will not be able to renew passports or apply for new passports. In the most extreme cases, the State Department may even revoke existing passports for those who owe money to the IRS.

The IRS will use a threshold of $50,000 in unpaid taxes, which will include penalties and interest, to compile a list of affected taxpayers. The new rules are not restricted to criminal tax cases or circumstances in which the government feels you are fleeing a tax debt, but will include any case in which a taxpayer owes more than $50,000 and is issued a notice of lien by the IRS.

As of now, there is an administrative exception that will allow the government to issue passports in case of humanitarian emergencies. The details for this process and the timeline for acquiring a passport incase of emergency have not yet been determined.

While many elements of the IRS’s plan are still a work in progress, the dynamic between the IRS and the taxpayers will certainly be altered by the recent law and travel restrictions. Read More.

Share this story

Join This Conversation

Our Partners