Owe the IRS? You could lose your passport - CBS46 News

Owe the IRS? You could lose your passport

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

Planning a summer trip to the French Riviera?  If you owe Uncle Sam big bucks – think again. 

There’s a new law targeting Americans who are seriously delinquent.  Taxpayers who owe $50,000 or more in federal taxes now stand to lose their passports.

Certified Public Accountant Andrew Poulos of Poulos Accounting and Consulting told CBS46 this will effect more people than you think.

“People often think $50,000, 'Oh, how could I get into a $50,000 problem,’ but there are dozens of ways,” Poulos said.

A divorce, custody battle, running a small business – could easily lead to you racking up tax debt pretty quickly, Poulos said.

“You had $60,000 worth of credit card debt and you negotiated with the credit card company, and you settle for $2,000 to $3,000 bucks,” said Poulos. “The difference between what they're writing off, they're going to issue you a 1099 and that's taxable income to you.”

Poulos said the law has the potential to impact millions of Americans, particularly some 6 million working and living overseas.

“There's also limitation, if you're living overseas and you're made aware of this, and you have to travel back into the country they'll provide you with a limited passport to be able to fly back in but you can't fly back out,” he said.

You can dispute your tax bill, work out a settlement - or even set up a payment plan.      

But once the IRS notifies the State Department of your delinquency, passports are restricted immediately – unless you're applying for a new passport.

At that point, you have 90 days to resolve it with the IRS.  Taxpayers who think they may be seriously delinquent are encouraged to check their passport status with the National Passport Information Center.

Poulos warned that the IRS will start aggressively going after taxpayers who fail to pay, or have been delinquent for years by actually filing their taxes for them.

“They take no deductions, they take no exemptions, they take nothing out there,” said Poulos. “They'll take whatever has been reported, slap you with the penalties and the interest and you could easily get to over $50,000 and have a problem.”

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