Under a new provision of law that is expected to take effect  in 2016, the U.S. State Department will  be able to: (i) deny Americans with “seriously delinquent” tax debt from receiving new passports; and (ii) revoke existing passports of individuals who fall into this category.  The list of affected taxpayers is to be compiled by the Internal Revenue Service using a threshold of US$50,000 of unpaid federal taxes, including penalties and interest, which amount will be adjusted for inflation.

The rule has been passed in similar versions by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

It is buried in H.R. 22, Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, a highway-funding bill, in Section 32101 of Subtitle A of Title XXXII of the Bill,  that is now before the joint conference committee.

Congress is expected to pass this bill in early December and, if enacted in its current form, the law is to take effect on January 1st, 2016  and would apply to existing tax debts.

According to estimates by the Joint Committee on Taxation reported in JCX-106-15, the measure is expected to raise US$398 million over 10 years.