A new edition of NWTRCC’s newsletter is out, with content including:
- A cover story on the newish U.S. government policy of refusing passports to people with large tax debts.
- Samantha Leuschner on Constructing Positive Pillars for Peace.
- Some notes on recent trends in tax enforcement, including frivolous fines, wage garnishment, audit rates of the poor, state-and-local tax deduction limits, and cooperation between tax enforcers in the U.S. and Canada.
- Reports from local NWTRCC affiliates across the country.
- A profile of recently-passed war tax resister Frances Crowe.
- Confessions of an Anonymous War Tax Refuser.
Here are some more details on the passport-revocation front, as found in a recent Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report.
According to the details of the newish law concerning passports and tax scofflaws, when the amount of someone’s overdue taxes rises above a certain threshold ($52,000 last I checked), the IRS must notify the State Department, whereupon the State Department must not issue a new passport to that scofflaw or renew their existing passport (unless the scofflaw is taking certain specified steps to pay up or contest the tax debt), and may revoke any existing passport that person has.
That’s all the law allows for. It does not specify under what circumstances the State Department should revoke existing passports, or even mandate that they do so at all. It is merely an option. Now it emerges that the IRS hopes to put more teeth into that provision on its own initiative. It plans to send requests to the State Department, on a case-by-case basis, asking State to revoke the passports from people the IRS believes might thereby be prodded into paying what they owe.
This process is not something that was explicitly authorized by the law, but TIGTA didn’t seem to think that was a problem. “There is no law or regulation that directly authorizes the IRS to prioritize taxpayers to be referred to the State Department for revocation; however, we believe it is reasonable for the IRS to provide the State Department with taxpayers for possible revocation to comply with the law.”