By Samuel C. Gold, Esq.
You’re about to leave the country for a business trip. You know in the back of your mind that you have to pay U.S. taxes, but the Internal Revenue Service seems a world away as that big deal in Europe, Asia, Canada, or Latin America awaits. Should you take such a cavalier attitude? Absolutely not and with good reason.
Take your passport as an example. You rely on your passport to travel abroad. In late 2015 the U.S. Congress and former President Obama gave the IRS the power to suspend, deny, or revoke the passports of U.S.citizens owing $50,000 or more in delinquent federal taxes, as part of legislation that was included in a much larger transportation bill. If your passport is revoked because you owe taxes, it will only be good for a one-way ticket home after being hassled by border control, that is, if you manage to leave the country in the first place. After which, you lose your passport altogether!
Analysts note that while the threshold of $50,000 seems high, many taxpayers will meet the number because penalties and interest accrue so quickly. The IRS will not revoke the passports of individuals who have reached installment agreements or create an alternate compromise to repay their back taxes offers in compromise.
The law, which the IRS started to implement in early 2018, focuses on new passports and renewals, but don’t forget that they also have the power to take your current passport! The IRS is required to notify the State Department with the names of delinquent taxpayers, and the State Department informs taxpayers of the bad news. Some have questioned the constitutionality of the law. Taxpayers receive a notice in the mail announcing the revoking of their U.S. passport with no hearing or opportunity to be heard,
What should you do? Work with ScaleUPCheckUP™ to be connected with a vetted, certified tax lawyer or IRS registered agent to negotiate an installment agreement or settlement before you run into problems. A registered agent is often a retired career IRS agent who is registered to represent taxpayers before the IRS, and is often less expensive than an attorney, but boasts great expertise. Reaching an agreement (or possibly just starting negotiations in good faith), should stop the passport revocation action, thereby giving you the freedom to travel without worrying about losing your passport.
Samuel C. Gold, Esq., has practiced law for nearly 15 years. Mr. Gold has been a member of the Florida and Wisconsin bars since 2002. He is also admitted to practice before several federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
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While the above is not and should not be considered legal advice, since each individual’s circumstances vary, ScaleUPCheckUP™ monitors these rapidly developing issues, as enforcement of the law switches into high gear. Instead, the foregoing is intended as an overview and not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. However, contacting an attorney to steer through the maze of bureaucracy to register and defend a mark may very well be necessary to consult an attorney.
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