Can You Get a Passport with IRS Debt?

Are you a US citizen who is having trouble keeping up with your taxes? And you are wondering if can you get a passport with IRS debt? If so, it’s time to pay close attention. Failing to keep current on your taxes can have serious consequences, including risking the revocation of your passport. Whether you’re an international traveler or just planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip this year, understanding the potential repercussions of not staying up to date on paying taxes can help ensure that new exciting memories don’t end in devastating disappointment.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how failing to pay what the IRS owes them can affect US citizens and what legislation has been put into place as protection for travelers abroad.

Can You Get a Passport with IRS Debt?

If you’re a U.S. citizen, you’re probably aware of the whereabouts of your passport at all times and the necessary steps to keep it valid. However, do you have the same level of knowledge about your tax obligations? You must do, as the IRS has clarified, that it intends to impose penalties on individuals with tax debts exceeding $59,000.00, including revoking passports or denying renewals. The IRS typically sends a warning letter to taxpayers at risk, but as many citizens can attest, international mail can be unreliable, and delays are common.

What Debts Aren’t Certified to the State Department?

The following items are not considered seriously delinquent tax debts:

  • Child Support
  • Timely payment of debts through installment agreements approved by the IRS.
  • Settling Debts on time by having my Offer in Compromise accepted by the IRS.
  • Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Account (FBAR) penalties,
  • Settlement agreements entered into with the Department of Justice,
  • Debts for which a Collection Due Process Hearing regarding a levy to collect the debt has been timely requested. or
  • Those were suspended because of a request for innocent spouse relief.

The IRS does not provide certification for individuals with seriously delinquent tax debts who

  • If an account has been deemed “currently not collectible” due to financial hardship,
  • Currently have a pending request with the IRS.:
    • Installment agreement,
    • Offer in Compromise,
  • It has been determined that the individual has fallen victim to identity theft related to taxes.
  • Is in bankruptcy,
  • Is situated in an area that has been officially declared a disaster zone by the federal government, or
  • The IRS has accepted the adjustment, which will completely fulfill their tax debt.


Failure to pay your taxes can have harmful consequences that should be avoided at all costs. Penalties from the government, including suspending a passport and the potential of going to prison, are dangers taxpayers face if they don’t keep up with their obligations. Thankfully, there are certain payment plans and options available through tax companies to help alleviate costs. It is also possible to file for extensions or amend your return if necessary.

Taking the necessary steps ahead of time can save you an immense amount of hassle further down the line when it comes to paying taxes. The best thing you can do is always ensure your annual taxes are paid on time, remain as up-to-date as possible with your filings, and remain compliant with federal laws. Doing so will ensure that no penalties occur and that you keep your US passport safe for future travels abroad.