Yes. Beginning December 2015, the State Department will not issue a passport to any individual who has a “seriously delinquent tax debt” unless there is an emergency or humanitarian situation. The State Department may also revoke previously issued passports to any individual for the same reason. Before revoking a passport, the State Department may limit the previously issued passport to allow only return travel to the United States or issue a limited passport for the same purpose.
To be considered a seriously delinquent tax debt, you need to owe the IRS more than $50,000 in tax, penalties and interest, and the IRS needs to have taken enforced collection action against you by filing either a lien or levy. The $50,000 will be adjusted for inflation on an annual basis beginning next year.
To avoid losing your passport or regain it after it has been revoked, taxpayers can either enter into an installment agreement or have an Offer in Compromise accepted by the IRS. Taxpayers can also file an innocent spouse relief request or Request for a Collection Due Process Hearing that will prevent loss of your passport while your request is pending.
Paying the tax debt in full or having it become legally unenforceable, for example, by lapse of sufficient time, will also keep you from losing your passport. Finally, you may also bring a civil action in a district court of the United States or the United States Tax Court to challenge the correctness of the action or whether the IRS failed to reverse the action, when it should have.
Taxpayers with seriously delinquent tax debts who either plan to travel or already reside abroad should contact a tax professional right away to evaluate their situation and discuss their options.