Pay Your Tax Debts if You Want to Keep Your Passport: Kiplinger Tax Letter

Are you applying for or renewing a passport? Be sure you’ve paid your federal taxes.

An American passport
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Getting the right tax advice and tips is vital in the complex tax world we live in. The Kiplinger Tax Letter helps you stay right on the money with the latest news and forecasts, with insight from our highly experienced team (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Tax Letter or subscribe). You can only get the full array of advice by subscribing to the Tax Letter, but we will regularly feature snippets from it online, and here is one of those samples…

The U.S. State Department can deny or revoke U.S. passports of people with federal tax debts of $59,000 or more on whom a tax lien or levy has been filed, This doesn’t include individuals who are paying their taxes under an installment agreement, people in bankruptcy, individuals who live in a federally declared disaster area, or people with a tax debt that the IRS has determined isn’t collectible because of hardship.

The IRS gives names of affected taxpayers to the State Department. The agency also lets people with certified debts know that their names were submitted to the State Department. If you get a notice CP508C, contact the IRS to resolve the debt. 

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Cases involving passports and tax debts

Legal cases involving passport revocations are increasingly before the U.S. Tax Court. And the IRS has won them all so far. 

Take these two recent decisions: In the first case, a man who owed about $62,000 in tax debts over three years claimed that the IRS erroneously certified his debt to the State Department. The Tax Court decided that the IRS acted appropriately and tossed the case (Gayou, TC Memo. 2023-61).

In the second case, a man who owed more than $100,000 in taxes over eight years claimed he never received the CP508C notice. According to the Tax Court, a flawed or missing notice doesn’t render the certification to the State Department erroneous (Meduty, 160 TC No. 13).

This first appeared in The Kiplinger Tax Letter. It helps you navigate the complex world of tax by keeping you up-to-date on new and pending changes in tax laws, providing tips to lower your business and personal taxes, and forecasting what the White House and Congress might do with taxes. Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Tax Letter or subscribe.

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Joy Taylor
Editor, The Kiplinger Tax Letter

Joy is an experienced CPA and tax attorney with an L.L.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law. After many years working for big law and accounting firms, Joy saw the light and now puts her education, legal experience and in-depth knowledge of federal tax law to use writing for Kiplinger. She writes and edits The Kiplinger Tax Letter and contributes federal tax and retirement stories to and Kiplinger’s Retirement Report. Her articles have been picked up by the Washington Post and other media outlets. Joy has also appeared as a tax expert in newspapers, on television and on radio discussing federal tax developments.