One common question we get asked here at RushMyPassport is whether or not you can be denied a passport if you owe taxes. In most cases, the answer is no: the IRS does not share its tax data with the Department of State, and current law does not allow passports to be denied simply because you owe the government money (though if you’ve got a criminal case against you for tax evasion, that might be a different story).
But that may change in the future. As you’re no doubt aware, Congress is currently looking at ways to reduce the nation’s deficit. One method recommended by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a new report is to deny passport services to people who owe the IRS more than a certain amount.
According to Fox News, the GAO estimates that in 2008 alone, over 5.8 billion dollars was owed collectively in back taxes and penalties by citizens who applied for and received US passports. Some of it is owed by normal people who got behind paying their taxes, but it’s hard to have much sympathy for some of the worst offenders. For example, one person owed $40 million in taxes and hadn’t filed a return in four years. Forget TurboTax, this guy could obviously afford to hire an accountant!
The GAO report notes that “The federal government has a vital interest in efficiently and effectively collecting the billions of dollars of taxes owed under current law. Such legislation could have the potential to help generate substantial collections of known unpaid federal taxes and increase tax compliance for tens of millions of Americans holding passports…IRS officials stated that screening passport applicants for federal tax debts would likely improve tax collections.”
It’s important to note that before the government makes paying your taxes a condition of getting a passport, Congress would have to pass a law tying the ability to receive passport services to a person’s tax status. We’ll keep you updated – in the meantime, taxes are due Monday, so if you haven’t paid yet, you might want to get on that.
Also, whether or not you owe taxes, if you plan to travel internationally anytime soon, you should go ahead and apply for passport services as soon as possible. Remember, regular service takes at least 6 weeks, and even the government’s expedited service, which costs an additional $60, takes 3 weeks.
For faster service, a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport is the easiest and most convenient option. We’ll walk you through the necessary paperwork and personally deliver your application to the Department of State, for processing in as little as 24 hours.
For quick, hassle-free passport service, contact us today!