18:06 GMT +318 June 2019
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    US Government: Pay Your Taxes or Cough Up That Passport

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    Congress is prepared to create a new law which will allow the US government to deny or revoke your passport if you have serious tax debt.

    The law, which is expected to be enacted in January, will allow the State Department to begin blocking or rescinding passports from those with “seriously delinquent” tax debt. The IRS will be in charge of compiling the list of those affected, and will use a threshold of $50,000 in unpaid federal taxes, including penalties and interest, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    The legislation is part of a highway-funding bill that is expected to pass in early December. Similar rules have passed by both the House and Senate.

    The changes will still allow for the State Department to issue a passport for “humanitarian reasons” or in the case of an emergency.

    “Americans abroad need their passports for many routine activities of daily life, such as banking, registering in a hotel, or registering a child for school, and mistakes could be disastrous,” said Charles Bruce, an American lawyer with Bonnard Lawson in Lausanne, Switzerland, told the Wall Street Journal.

    There are currently around seven million United States citizens living abroad who may not be receiving their mail from the IRS.

    “IRS data systems aren’t designed to accommodate the different styles of international addresses, which can cause notices to be undeliverable,” a report issued in September by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration noted.

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    Debt, Passports, Congress, State Department, IRS
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