The IRS May Revoke Your Passport If You Have Overdue Taxes

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Tax evasion is a major problem in the US, and while it’s never a good idea to cheat the IRS, the agency is planning to make it even less appealing to do so. According to a Wall Street Journal report (that we’ve confirmed with the State Department), the federal government is currently working to implement a policy to revoke the international travel privileges of individuals who owe a certain amount of back taxes — WSJ reports this figure as $50,000 in unpaid federal taxes, although the State Department was unable to confirm.

The State Department provided the following statement:

On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed H.R.22 – FAST Act, which became Public Law 114-94. The FAST Act, which stands for “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation,” includes provisions related to the denial and revocation of U.S. passports. Specifically, the law provides that the State Department shall not issue a passport to any individual certified by IRS as having a seriously delinquent tax debt. The State Department also may revoke any passport issued to a person certified by the IRS as having a seriously delinquent tax debt. U.S. citizens overseas who have their passport applications denied or passports revoked on this basis are eligible for a limited passport valid only for direct return to the United States. The State Department is working with the IRS to implement these provisions.

Good luck getting Global Entry without a valid passport.
Good luck getting Global Entry without a valid passport.

Once the program is in place, anyone who owes a certain amount to the IRS may either have their passport application denied, or their passport will be revoked. If that individual is currently overseas, their passport will no longer be valid and they’ll need to obtain a “limited passport,” which will only be valid for a nonstop trip back to the US.

Overall, this is bad news for anyone who owes taxes, but if you have a significant tax debt, you should be working with the IRS to pay that off before spending thousands of dollars on international travel. If you think this new policy could affect you, consider reaching out to the IRS to settle your debt before this new procedure takes effect.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Sleek metal card design
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • $0 foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance when used at a chip card reader
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value — that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
  • Travel confidently with premium Travel Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Delay Reimbursement and more
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Balance Transfer Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 See Terms Excellent Credit