How Your Tax Debt May Impact Your Passport

Senior Law News | Aug 29, 2019 | Hook Law Center

Before you renew your passport and leave the Country, you will want to make sure that you are not seriously delinquent on your tax debt. IRC § 7345 authorizes the State Department to deny a passport application or renewal for any individual that is deemed to be seriously delinquent on their tax debt to the Internal Revenue Service.

Before denying your passport application, the State Department will hold your application for 90 days. This is to provide you with enough time to resolve any erroneous certification issues, pay the tax debt in full or make an arrangement to pay the IRS.

Under IRC 7345(b), the IRS defines seriously delinquent as an unpaid, legally enforceable Federal tax liability of an individual which has been assessed, is greater than $52,000 (for 2019 the threshold is $52,000 and is indexed for inflation) and a notice of federal tax lien has been filed and all administrative remedies under IRC § 6320 have lapsed or been exhausted or a levy has been issued for the debt.

There are some types of tax debts that are not included in determining seriously delinquent tax debt. Excluded categories of tax debt include:

  1. Debt that is determined to be currently not collectible due to hardship.
  2. Debt that resulted from identity theft.
  3. Taxpayers in a Disaster Zone.
  4. Debt of a taxpayer in bankruptcy
  5. Debt of a deceased taxpayer.
  6. Debt that is pending an Offer in Compromise.
  7. Debt that is included in a pending Installment Agreement
  8. Pending claims that will result in no balance due.

You will be notified in writing via Notice CP 508C once the IRS certifies the tax debt to the State Department. It is important to keep your address up-to-date with the IRS, because the notice will be sent by regular mail to your last known address. Reversal of the certification is not a quick process, so you will want to make sure you do not wait until the last minute to get ahead of your tax debt.  Once you have resolved your tax debt or made appropriate arrangements, you will receive Notice CP 508R within 30 days.

Ask Kit Kat: Animal Crossing over the Freeway

Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, what can you tell us about the new bridge in California that will be finished by 2023 that allows many types of animals to cross over a busy road unbothered by cars or humans?

Kit Kat: Well, this sounds like a truly great solution to a problem that has vexed conservationists for some time. In the busy area of southern California around Los Angeles, wildlife was being trapped on one side of US 101 or the other. There was concern in particular for a certain mountain lion named P-22. He wears a tracking collar, so he has been observed many times. According to Beth Pratt of the National Wildlife Federation, “When the freeway went in, it cut off an ecosystem. We’re just now seeing impacts of that.” Mountain lions like P-22 are being confined to the west of the roadway in the Santa Monica Mountains, all the way up the coast to Los Angeles. Other mountain lions remain on the east side of the road, and it makes mating and rearing young difficult. This has led to inbreeding, and conservationists fear it could lead to eventual extinction within a span of 15 years, if something isn’t done to reverse the situation.

It’s not only mountain lions which are affected, though they, with symbolic leaders like P-22, have become the face of the crusade. Pratt even likened P-22 to being ‘the Brad Pitt of the cougar world.’ Nevertheless, coyotes, deer, lizards, and snakes will benefit also. The bridge, exclusively for animal use, will span 10 lanes of traffic 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles. It will be the second animal overpass in California, though tunnels for animal use are more common. 80% of the funding for the project will come from private sources, while 20% will come from state funds which were allocated for conservation purposes.

Great care is being taken in the design of the bridge. “Ideally the animals will never know they’re on a bridge. It’s landscape flowing over a freeway. It’s putting back a piece of the ecosystem that was lost,” says architect Clark Stevens. Berms and hollows will exist alongside of high walls which will help to minimize sound and light from the busy roadway below. The public support for the project is huge. Of 9,000 comments the planning agency received during the comment period, only 15 were negative. It’s a wonderful undertaking that can’t come soon enough! (Associated Press, “California Reportedly Plans to Build Bridge Over Major Freeway to Give Wildlife Room to Roam,” Huffington Post, August 20, 2019)

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