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Denial or Revocation of Passports Impairs Taxpayer Rights

From the Desk of Lauran L. Stevenson

Denial or Revocation of Passports Impairs Taxpayer Rights

Delinquent tax debt is defined as “unpaid, legally enforceable federal tax liability of an individual.” According to the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), several taxpayer rights can be impacted by the IRS’ certification program that is related to revocation of passports due to unpaid IRS debts. The statute requires two forms of notice to the affected taxpayer: a notice issued to the taxpayer at the time of certification, and written text that is inserted to the taxpayers CDP notice. According to the TAS, a taxpayer should be notified 30 days in advance of certification.

The taxpayer rights that are directly affected are:

• The Right to Be Informed;
• The Right to Challenge the IRS’ Position and Be Heard;
• The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System.

The IRS has plans to certify specific and seriously delinquent tax debts of one percent of the portion of taxpayers who are eligible and meet the following specific criteria:

• Taxpayer has been assessed by the IRS;
• The debt is greater than the amount of 50,000; and
• A notice of a lien has been filed under the IRC and Collection Due Process hearing rights have been exhausted; or
• A levy has been made under the IRC 6331.

The IRS has failed to address several concerns regarding taxpayer advocacy and taxpayer rights. The IRS has significant discretion to include or exclude certain individual taxpayers. Taxpayers with an opened TAS case should be excluded from certification, as these cases exceed 50,000 in tax debt, and open cases in TAS are already trying to rectify their debts. In order to protect taxpayer’s rights, especially the Right to be Informed, the IRS needs to expand how notices are sent to taxpayers and provide warning of serious delinquent tax debts. The TAS will be initially monitoring how the IRS handles taxpayers in certifying passports in the future.

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