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IRS May Revoke Your Passport If You Owe $

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IRS May Revoke Your Passport If You Owe $

Postby Dog's_Breakfast » 11 Feb 2016, 15:22

Hi all. Apologies if someone else posted this already and I missed it (I can't seem to find it though, so I guess I'm first)...


IRS may revoke passport of those who owe $50k in taxes - new law
A new law passed by US Congress and signed by President Obama this month allows the IRS to strip anyone who owes the US government as least $50,000 in unpaid taxes of an American passport.

The law, passed via approval of transportation legislation known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, will give the Internal Revenue Service and the US Department of the Treasury permission to authorize the US State Department to pursue or deny delinquent taxpayers' passport privileges. Those owing more than $50,000 to the IRS would receive written notice of the revocation, but only after the IRS has filed a lien.

Pursuant to the law, the State Department will not issue a passport to anyone who owes more than $50,000, with some exceptions. Those outside of the US when their passport is revoked will, however, be allowed to return home.


I predicted this would happen sooner or later. And that when it happened, the law would be sneaked in by attaching it to something that sounds benign. And sure enough, it was buried inside the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.

I assume the $50,000 applies to FATCA penalties as well, not just to those who owe actual taxes. But I don't have proof of that right now, because I haven't got the patience to read the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.

If you reside in Taiwan with an ARC or APRC, if you lose your US passport and don't have another nationality to fall back on, you'd lose your right to residence here as well. Or indeed, even your right to visit. But you could always return to the Land of the Free, so it doesn't matter, right?
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Re: IRS May Revoke Your Passport If You Owe $

Postby dan2006 » 11 Feb 2016, 16:24

If you have an APRC, how would Taiwan know your passport was revoked. I guess you could just choose to remain in Taiwan without travelling elsewhere. Fortunately not American :)
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Re: IRS May Revoke Your Passport If You Owe $

Postby Okami » 11 Feb 2016, 18:13

When you renew, they'd know.
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Re: IRS May Revoke Your Passport If You Owe $

Postby dan2006 » 11 Feb 2016, 22:11

I didn't know a permanent resident needed to renew.
But why would it matter, you are PR and never left, having a valid passport is mandatory for PR?

It is certainly so "kind" that they will let you go back, so that you are captive to all the back taxes.
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Re: IRS May Revoke Your Passport If You Owe $

Postby afterspivak » 11 Feb 2016, 22:30

If you have an APRC in Taiwan, you need to get the card updated if some of the data printed on it (including passport number and address) happen to change.

Besides, who would want to be abroad without a valid passport? Being in this sort of situation sounds totally nuts.

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Re: IRS May Revoke Your Passport If You Owe $

Postby nonredneck » 11 Feb 2016, 23:06

How does this affect dual Taiwanese US passport holders who owe that much? Are they now banned from entering the USA or possibly banned from leaving the USA if they enter? You are supposed to enter the USA with your American passport if you have multiple passports.

Would they be blocked from entering if their passport was revoked? If the USA did allow them in, would they be allowed to leave using their second passport if they didn't pay the tax bill?
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Re: IRS May Revoke Your Passport If You Owe $

Postby Dog's_Breakfast » 12 Feb 2016, 08:31

nonredneck wrote:How does this affect dual Taiwanese US passport holders who owe that much? Are they now banned from entering the USA or possibly banned from leaving the USA if they enter? You are supposed to enter the USA with your American passport if you have multiple passports.

Would they be blocked from entering if their passport was revoked? If the USA did allow them in, would they be allowed to leave using their second passport if they didn't pay the tax bill?


I know some Taiwanese-Americans who are pretty damn worried about this. I'm making some guesses here, but I believe that a Taiwan-USA dual-citizen would still be able to enter the USA, but then not be able to leave (at least not legally). If you managed to sneak out of the USA (perhaps via Mexico), any attempt to re-enter the USA could get you arrested.

In my opinion, the situation will only get worse. In theory, it's not a criminal offense to simply owe the IRS tax money or FATCA fines. But if the authorities decide to charge you with "tax fraud," then even living abroad on a non-US passport is risky since you could be extradited. Because of this precarious legal situation, more and more Americans are renouncing - not because they necessarily owe tax money, but because they don't want to wind up in legal jeopardy due to the whim of some aggressive IRS agent trying to win a job promotion. But of course you aren't permitted to renounce if you owe the IRS anything. And needless to say, you shouldn't renounce your US citizenship unless you have a second nationality to fall back on - being stateless is no fun.
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Re: IRS May Revoke Your Passport If You Owe $

Postby Nuit » 12 Feb 2016, 08:45

Dog's_Breakfast wrote:And needless to say, you shouldn't renounce your US citizenship unless you have a second nationality to fall back on - being stateless is no fun.


And costly! US has highest fees in the world to renounce citizenship, recently raised by a whopping 450% from $450 to $2,350.
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Re: IRS May Revoke Your Passport If You Owe $

Postby nonredneck » 12 Feb 2016, 08:52

Wonder if this affects people who have not filled any taxes. I'm not sure how the IRS calculates owed taxes when they don't know the person's income. I would assume nothing is done unless they find out that person's bank account and getting a regular income.
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Re: IRS May Revoke Your Passport If You Owe $

Postby Chris » 12 Feb 2016, 11:31

If you owe more than $50,000, you're pretty damn rich, and can easily afford it. Pay up.
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