Back Taxes May Lead to Revoked Passports

Back taxes may lead to revoked passports. The IRS recently notified more than 400,000 taxpayers that their passports will be revoked for back taxes. Under Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the State Department must deny any passport applications or renewal requests from taxpayers owing more than $52,000 in back taxes. They will also revoke any existing valid passports causing those with delinquent taxes to lose their ability to travel outside of the United States.


Before contacting the State Department, the IRS will send Letter 6152, Notice of Intent to Request U.S. State Department to Revoke Passport, to the taxpayer. This gives the taxpayer 30 days to respond with an intent to resolve the tax debt in one of the following manners:

  • Submit payment in full,
  • Negotiate and adhere to an approved installment agreement,
  • Negotiate and adhere to an accepted offer in compromise, or
  • Request and receive approval of innocent spouse relief.

If the tax debt is resolved in a timely manner, the IRS will not certify you as delinquent with the state department. If you do not resolve the tax debts, the IRS will certify you and the state department will begin the process of denial or revocation of your passport. Generally, the IRS will not recommend revoking the passport of any taxpayer who is making an effort in good faith to resolve the tax debts.

Other Exceptions

There are a few other exceptions where the IRS may not certify a taxpayer as delinquent to the State Department. Those include:

  • When someone files for bankruptcy,
  • When someone is currently deployed in a combat zone,
  • When someone is located in a federally declared disaster area, or
  • When someone is a victim of tax-related fraud.

Expediting the Reversal

If you have imminent plans to travel and the State Department has already initiated your passport revocation, you can request expedited reversal of the certification. This only applies if you have resolved your tax debt in one of the manners mentioned above. Inform the IRS that you have travel scheduled within the next 45 days and they may be able to assist you in shortening the time it takes the State Department to reinstate your travel privileges.

What to Do to Prevent Your Passport Getting Revoked for Back Taxes

Tax burdens do not go away on their own. Delaying a strategy to resolve your tax issues simply makes them worse. The first step is to contact an experienced tax attorney to discuss your specific situation – how much you owe, whether the calculations are correct, and your ability to pay.

There are a wide range of options available and the IRS is settling more tax debt than ever before. It takes an experienced tax attorney to assess your situation, negotiate with the IRS and help you develop a plan to unburden yourself and move forward to financial freedom.

Now that back taxes lead to revoked passports, if you have travel plans arranged in the near future, it is important to get the process started right away to avoid any delays in travel. At Murray Moyer, PLLC, we can help you work towards a tax resolution and streamline the process to ensuring your passport remains valid for use. The attorneys at Murray Moyer, PLLC have extensive experience in tax controversy issues and focus exclusively on this practice area. They help hundreds of others in similar situations and are familiar with how the IRS works.

You do not want to be stopped at the airport or as you attempt to board your cruise ship. The time to tackle this issue is well in advance of your vacation or business trip so your passport is not revoked for back taxes. Contact us for a consultation at (919) 846-6779.

Written by Justin Moyer on September 10, 2019.