I stand corrected. Just yesterday, I was telling a candidate for State Representative in Massachusetts that the Commonwealth goes way too far in revoking drivers licenses from individuals behind in their taxes. I pontificated on the wisdom of such a drastic step, and it really got this candidate’s attention. One of the items I noted was that “You would never see the IRS do something like that.”
Well, I’ll be damned.
Hidden in a Highway Transportation Bill unanimously approved by the United States Senate last Tuesday, the State Department would be able to “deny, revoke or limit a passport for any individual whom the Internal Revenue Service has certified as having a “seriously delinquent tax debt” in excess of $50,000.” By “seriously delinquent,” it appears that a notice of federal tax lien or a notice of levy has been filed. But there appears to be exceptions, such as when a payment plan is in place, or a collection due process hearing has been requested “or is pending.” Sobering stuff.
Desperately searching for more detail here, I reached out to my friend Michael Cohn of Accounting Today, the author of the article, in the hopes of acquiring greater detail in what appears to be a major potential restraint on travel on an unsuspecting public. There are more of these tax liabilities than people realize. I can think of many instances where this is incredibly over-reaching, particularly where there are tax disputes regarding the liability amount and/or sufficient assets to satisfy the liability, right here in the United States.
This is all about the money, and not about compliance. Why? Thus far I haven’t heard one word about chronic non-filers, or tax protesters being subject to this. Just Taxpayers who “owe” money, assuming they even do in the first place.
Several posts ago, we wrote about our fear of a slippery slope with respect to tax regulation. That slope just got tweaked a few degrees steeper.