US Passport Revocation

Included in a bill signed into Congress in 2015, was a revenue-raising provision that requires the IRS to revoke or deny the passport of any taxpayer with a seriously delinquent tax debt.  The IRS defines a seriously delinquent tax debt as a tax liability of an amount greater than $50,000, and for which the taxpayer has exhausted all administrative appeal rights. That amount includes penalties and interest in addition to the taxes. The statutory $50,000 amount is adjusted annually for inflation and is currently $59,000. 

For reasons grounded in principle, law, and equity, ACA strongly opposes the notion of revoking passports for the purpose of collecting tax debts. ACA has highlighted to the Congress the serious negative impact such legislation could have on Americans living overseas:  ACA letter to Congress and Final ACA position paper on passport revocation.

ACA is concerned over this provision given the increase in individuals coming into compliance from overseas, the lengthy mail delivery and communication time between the IRS and overseas tax filers, and the risk of error in filing from overseas. ACA also believes that a general policy of revoking US citizen's passports for tax delinquency in unfair.

On October 16, 2019, the IRS reversed its temporary suspension of passport certification for revocation/denial for taxpayers with open National Taxpayer Advocate Services (TAS) cases.

ACA maintains that loss or denial of a US passport for US citizens overseas holds serious and unparalleled consequences compared to those faced by US citizens living in the United States. An ACA Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that of the over 260,000 cases reported for potential passport revocation, approximately 1,850 represent individuals who are overseas residents. A US passport for these US citizens may be the only official US document conclusively proving US citizenship.  The Americans Abroad Caucus supports this position caucus-letter-to-state-department.pdf (

For those US citizens overseas working in high-risk countries and danger zones, a US passport may be their only proof to the US Embassy or Consulate in circumstances necessitating urgent assistance. Also, a US passport is the underpinning document for many Americans to hold “work permits” and “right of residency” in many foreign countries. Without such a document, many would be unable to work or maintain their livelihoods if their US passports were revoked or denied.