On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed legislation authorizing the federal government to revoke, deny, or limit passports for individuals with a “seriously delinquent tax debt.” The law defines “seriously delinquent tax debt” as owing the IRS more than $50,000 in tax, penalties, and interest. The measure, slipped into the enormous–more than 1,300 pages–highway funding bill [Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (“Fast Act”)], gives the State Department the authority to revoke, deny or limit passports for anyone the IRS certifies as owing more than $50,000 in tax debt. Taxpayers with current installment agreements with the IRS, whereby they have agreed to pay their tax debt over time, are exempted from the law.

Any taxpayers with more than $50,000 in tax debt, particularly those with upcoming foreign travel plans, should contact a tax professional about resolving their tax debt in order to avoid possibly having their passports revoked as a result of this new law.