You Need To Know This Abut Your Passport And Your Taxes!

Did you know that you can be denied a passport, or have your passport revoked if you owe back taxes??

It used to be that each government department stayed in its own lane, but now they are talking to each other, and it can have dire consequences for your travel plans!

This is a law that was passed in December of 2015, but the IRS needed time to get everything together, and now for the past few months the agency has been putting it into action.

 

The FAST Act

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So What Is This Law?

The law is called the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or the FAST Act. The FAST Act require the IRS to give the State Department a list of people who owe back taxes. The State Department can then deny, revoke, or limit the ability of these people to use their passports.

Supposedly this is just for people who are “seriously delinquent” with their tax debt. How much qualifies as seriously delinquent? It turns out it’s not that much. If you owe $51,000 or more in back taxes (including penalties and fines!) your name goes on the list.

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More About The FAST Act

There is a section in the FAST Act titled Revocation or Denial Of Passport In Case Of Certain Tax Delinquencies

The specifics of this process are spelled out in a section of the FAST Act titled Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies, which essentially makes using a passport a tool to collect taxes. The law allows the State Department, when notified by the IRS, to revoke, deny or limit passports for anyone the IRS has certified as having seriously delinquent tax debt.

The passport restriction will affect people who owe larger amounts and travel internationally. It will also affect anyone looking to apply for or renew their passports.

How Does It Work?

The IRS will sendthe State Department a Letter 508C, which certifies that you have a seriously delinquent tax debt ($51,000 or more). They will also send a letter to the taxpayer’s last known address. The taxpayer will also be notified about passport restrictions in a separate letter.

RELATED POST: WHY YOU SHOULD RENEW YOUR PASSPORT NOW

Define Seriously Delinquent…

The IRS says any person owing a legally enforceable tax liability of more than $50,000. It may sound like a lot, but it actually includes fines, penalties and interest. Anyone who has been in arrears with their taxes, or knows someone who has, can tell you this adds up quickly!

You must have had a tax lien filed against you and all remedies for lien relief must have lapsed or been denied.

Tax payers have a 90 day process for resolving IRS errors or for getting back in good standing with the IRS.

passport and taxes

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Should You Be Worried?

*If you have ever had to deal with the IRS making a mistake with your taxes before then you may already know how incredibly time consuming and difficult it can be to get the situation fixed. It happened to me once with a business that had been sold. It was an error made by the IRS and it took months to get fixed. They even threatened to take my home! Luckily I was able to get it remedied before it came to that, but under this new law I would have had my passport revoked, lot my Global Entry status, and had a world of additional headaches to contend with!

*Those of you who are divorced probably already know that legally you are responsible for 50% of every stupid or illegal move your ex spouse made during the time you were married. If your ex ran up tax debt prior to your divorce, you own half of it.

*Those of you who are behind on your taxes – it happens! Plenty of people are. Your best bet to save your passport and your ability to travel internationally is to get on a payment plan with the IRS asap.

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Not Sure If You’re On The List?

If you think there is a chance that you could be on the list don’t wait until your next international trip to find out. Call the National Passport Information Center at 877-487-2778

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Is There Relief?

The IRS will consider the following individuals to be excepted from the State Department’s passport restrictions:

    • Those who’ve entered an installment agreement with the IRS to pay their taxes
    • Those who’ve settled their tax debt through an offer in compromise or a Justice Department agreement
    • Those who appeal a tax levy through an IRS collection due process hearing
    • Those who request innocent spouse relief by filing Form 8857


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Why You Should Renew Your Passport Now

Passport-Sicily-Aviators

I just sent my passport off to be renewed.
I don’t believe in not having a valid passport, because I believe you have to be ready to jump on a plane whenever an opportunity shows up. Over the years I have known many people who have missed a work trip to Paris, a shoot in the Maldives, a chance to go to the Greek Islands, all because they didn’t have a passport.

If you have 6 months left on your current passport you need to renew it now. If you have less then 6 months you needed to renew it yesterday. If you don’t have a passport, go get one now.
You never know when you will need it.

Here is an article I found on Smarter Travel.com, written by Shannon McMahon

U.S. Passport Changes Are Coming: Here’s What You Need to Know

 

Passport changes are coming, and if you plan on traveling in the future—especially if you’re among the 49 million Americans whose passports will expire in the next few years—you need to know what passport changes are in store.

While it may seem easy enough to acquire or renew a passport if and when you plan a trip, the State Department says there’s about to be a massive backlog of passport applications. (More on that in a minute.) Plus, passports themselves are going to change. Here’s what you should know about both the expected passport application delays and the passport changes coming in the years ahead.

U.S. Passport Changes

 

 

Passport application

 

 

 

You Should Renew Your Passport Now

A decade ago, an important piece of travel legislation made American passports much more in-demand. The State Department saw an “unprecedented surge” in applications when a 2007 law enacted by the 9/11 Commission established passports as necessary for all travel to and from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Millions of travelers acquired 10-year passports that year as a result, and now they’re all about to expire. It’s safe to assume many of those passport holders will need to renew, which means that passport applications will jump significantly once again.

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Concerned about wait times yet? Passport renewal already takes about six weeks, and many destinations require foreign passports to be valid for months after your trip. Factor in unknown delays, and you might have a lot less time to renew than you thought.

Colorado driver's license

 

 

 

REAL ID Changes Aren’t Helping

A newer federal law, the REAL ID Act, will soon enforce updates to all state-level identification in the form of security features like machine-readable data. Now people in some states that are lagging behind in the technology are realizing that their licenses might soon be invalid for air travel—even on domestic trips. That could mean a rise in passport applications as well.

Travelers using IDs issued by certain states—for example, Maine and Missouri—could be turned away at the gate starting in 2018 if their state doesn’t adjust to the new standards in time. Some states are under review and have been given a deadline extension, but all licenses must comply with the standards by 2020. Frequent travelers worried that their state won’t comply in time may go ahead and renew or acquire a passport instead. Find out if your state has complied or been given an extension here.

Security scanning passport

 

 

 

Expect New Security Features

Like state IDs, passports will now include added technology to ensure security and decrease fraud. Catching up with many other countries, U.S. passports changes mean that new passports will include a data chip that can provide all your personal info upon scanning it onto a computer. You can also expect your new passport to be lighter—rather than the 52-page passports of the past, only 28 pages will be included unless you opt to get more.

 

 

Child holding a passport

 

 

 

Double Check Children’s Passports

If you’ve lost track of when your own passport needs renewing and you travel with children, double-check your child’s passport as well. Child passports are only valid for five years, and they’re subject to more paperwork, like parental consent forms and proof of a parent-child relationship.

Related: Courtesy of Allianz Travel Insurance, read some great tips for traveling with children.

Passport on world map

 

 

How to Renew Your Passport

You can apply for or renew a passport online through the State Department, or in person at an eligible local agency like the post office. Make sure you follow instructions carefully and meet all the requirements, like the new rule against wearing glasses in your passport photo. Doing so could further delay the process.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated wearing glasses in a passport photo could mean re-applying and again paying the application fee. According to the Department of State, photos can be re-submitted without again paying the fee.