the IRS Money? Pay Up or You Might Not Be Able to Renew Your Passport
by Mark Nestmann: Want
a Passport? Better Find Your Circumcision Records!
predicted there would come a time when the U.S. government began
requiring individuals applying for or renewing their U.S. passports
to prove tax compliance.
That time came
a step closer earlier this month with a report from the Government
Accountability Office (GAO). The report concluded that in 2008,
the State Department issued passports to 224,000 citizens who owed
nearly $6 billion in unpaid federal taxes.
law, the State Department cannot refuse to issue or renew a passport
if the applicant owes back taxes. In addition, federal law forbids
the IRS from disclosing taxpayer information to the State Department.
To do so, the IRS must first obtain consent from the taxpayer.
are several circumstances under which the State Department can refuse
to issue or renew a passport. If theres a federal warrant
for your arrest, a federal or state court order forbidding departure
from the United States, or a request for extradition, you wont
get your passport. But there are much more mundane exclusions. For
instance, if you owe more than $2,500 in delinquent child support
payments, you wont get a passport.
existing exclusions, it wouldnt be difficult for Congress
to add tax delinquencies to them. The GAO suggested
Congress is interested in pursuing a policy of linking federal tax
debt collection to passport issuance, it may consider taking steps
to enable State to screen and prevent individuals who owe federal
taxes from receiving passports.
You can read
the text of the full report here.
is the latest wakeup call for any U.S. citizen applying or renewing
their passport. In the future, doing so might be conditional not
only on being tax compliant, but also making sure your children
are registered for the draft, or whatever other conditions Congress
decides to impose. And without a passport, of course, you have no
way to travel internationally.
The GAO proposal
makes it more important than ever to get a second passport. If you
dont qualify for a second passport by virtue of marriage or
ancestry, its still possible to acquire one by making a contribution
or investment to a handful of countries. In exchange, youll
receive citizenship for life and a passport. The Commonwealth of
Dominica and the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis are the only
countries with an official, legally mandated, citizenship-through-investment
program. Several other countries, including at least two EU countries,
will award citizenship and passport upon performance of an outstanding
service (including an investment).
with permission from The Sovereign
Mark Nestmann is a journalist with more than 20
years of investigative experience and is a charter member of The
Sovereign Society’s Council of Experts. He has authored over a dozen
books and many additional reports on wealth preservation, privacy
and offshore investing. Mark serves as president of his own international
consulting firm, The Nestmann Group, Ltd. The Nestmann Group provides
international wealth preservation services for high-net worth individuals.
Mark is an Associate Member of the American Bar Association (member
of subcommittee on Foreign Activities of U.S. Taxpayers, Committee
on Taxation) and member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
In 2005, he was awarded a Masters of Laws (LL.M) degree in international
tax law at the Vienna (Austria) University of Economics and Business
© 2011 Mark
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