July 9, 2018

THE ECONOMIST CALLED IT AMERICA’S BERLIN WALL: Thousands of Americans Will Be Denied a Passport Because of Unpaid Taxes: IRS officials provide new details on enforcement of law Congress passed in late 2015.

At least 362,000 Americans with overdue tax debts will be denied new or renewed passports if they don’t settle these debts, the Internal Revenue Service says.

Recently IRS officials have provided new details on the enforcement of a law Congress passed in late 2015. It requires the IRS and State Department to deny passports or revoke them for taxpayers who have more than $51,000 of overdue tax debt. Enforcement began in February.

An IRS spokesman says the 362,000 people are current tax debtors who are affected by the law. The IRS is sending their names in batches to the State Department, a process the tax agency aims to finish by year’s end. A State Department spokesman confirmed that it has already denied passports to some debtors. . . .

One objection is that the IRS notifies a tax debtor at roughly the same time it tells the State Department that someone qualifies for passport denial. This may not leave enough time to resolve tax issues and have the IRS and the State Department lift restrictions, she said.

Instead, Ms. Olson would like the IRS to warn debtors 30 days before the agency sends their names to the State Department. She said this is similar to what the Department of Health and Human Services requires before someone is denied a passport because of $2,500 or more in unpaid child support.

I think that this, like Tennessee’s recently-overturned policy of denying driver’s licenses to people with unpaid court costs, is an abuse of licensing power. Once you give the government the power to regulate something, it tends to want to use it to squeeze people even on unrelated matters.

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.