Passports Required For Domestic Travel In 2016, But IRS Can Revoke Passports For Taxes
by Robert W. Wood
Think you only need a passport to board an international flight? In 2016, some fliers better have one to fly domestic, which means they had better be paying their taxes. It now looks as though your passport could be cancelled if you owe the IRS. The Real ID Act created a national standard for state-issued IDs. It hits air travel in 2016. Some states initially refused to comply, fearing that the feds would make a national database of citizens. Others cited high administrative costs and a 50% increase in fees for drivers. Most states are OK, but millions in Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York may have to start using a passport to fly domestically.
Those states skipped the stricter standards for state-issued IDs. As a result, the TSA could insist on passports rather than driver’s licenses to board flights. The TSA will accept $55 passport cards and $135 passport books as valid identification. But some advice says that people in Minnesota should get passports by January 2016 to fly domestically. New York has been granted a waiver, so any driver’s license should still work. Louisiana has a waiver until Oct. 10, 2016, meaning that existing driver’s licenses work there too. Ditto for New Hampshire which has a waiver until June 1, 2016.
The easy answer may be to dig out your passport to avoid any doubt. Yet the IRS may have something to say about whether your passport is any good. H.R.22 has passed both the House and the Senate. It is expected to pass and be signed into law, adding new section 7345 to the tax code. The title of the section is “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies.”
The idea goes back to 2012, when the Government Accountability Office reported on the potential for using the issuance of passports to collect taxes. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) got on board, and then Sen. Orrin Hatch wrote a Memo to Reporters and Editors. The idea has grown in popularity since then. The State Department could revoke, deny or limit passports for anyone the IRS certifies as having a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of $50,000.
Assuming that it passes, in January of 2016, the State Department will start blocking Americans with ‘seriously delinquent’ tax debts. Administrative details about how all this will work are scant. But in all likelihood, it will mean no new passport and no renewal. It could even mean the State Department will rescind existing passports of people who fall into that category.