Cases Pending with the Taxpayer Advocate Service Are Temporarily Suspended from Passport Certification

Effective July 25, 2019, the Commissioner of the IRS agreed to temporarily suspend its “Passport Certification Program” for all taxpayers with cases pending with the Taxpayer Advocate Service (“TAS”).

Generally, the Passport Certification Program authorizes the IRS to notify the State Department of taxpayers with “seriously delinquent tax debt,” which is:

  1. A legally enforceable federal tax liability of an individual;
  2. which has been assessed;
  3. is greater than $52,000; and
  4. for which a Notice of Federal Tax Lien has been filed or a levy is made.

If that notification occurs, the State Department may restrict a taxpayer’s passport, including denying applications for a passport or a passport renewal. Prior to July 25, 2019, the only way taxpayers with a TAS case could get a passport certification reversed was to: pay their tax liabilities in full, agree to pay the IRS through an Installment Agreement or Offer in Compromise, or if a request for Innocent Spouse Relief is made. Now, any case pending with TAS, regardless of whether a resolution has been reached, will be suspended from passport certification.

What that means is that if passport certification occurred prior to a taxpayer’s request for Taxpayer Advocate assistance, it will be automatically reversed once the case is pending with TAS. And, no certifications will take place if a case is pending with TAS. Once the TAS case is concluded, however, the taxpayer’s passport may be restricted under normal procedures.

If you have questions, contact Anderson & Jahde for competent, professional tax help.

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