IRS Temporarily Halting Passport Revocations for Some Taxpayers
Memorandum for Taxpayer Advocate Service Employees
In a memorandum to Tax Advocate Service (TAS) employees, the TAS has stated that the IRS will temporarily decertify taxpayers with open TAS cases. Decertification means that taxpayers with seriously delinquent tax debts will, temporarily, not be at risk of having their passports revoked by the State Department merely because of those seriously delinquent tax debts.
Background. Code Sec. 7345 authorizes (but does not require) the IRS to certify a taxpayer's seriously delinquent tax debt to the State Department for the purposes of passport denial, limitation, or revocation. A seriously delinquent tax debt is an assessed individual tax liability exceeding $50,000 (adjusted for inflation) for which either a notice of federal tax lien has been filed or a levy has been made. IRS must also send a decertification to the Department of State where the certification was in error or where there is no longer a seriously delinquent tax debt. (Code Sec. 7345(b))
The Internal Revenue Manual provides details as to how the IRS certifies and decertifies a taxpayer. (IRM 13.1.24) A decertification protects the taxpayer's passport from being denied, limited, or revoked.
The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) has long advocated to exclude certain taxpayers with TAS cases from passport certification.
Temporary decertification. TAS has now issued a memorandum to its employees. In it, TAS notes that the IRS Commissioner, Charles Rettig, has not made a final decision on what the NTA has been advocating for. But he has agreed to temporarily suspend TAS cases from the certification program. Effective July 25, 2019, all open TAS cases with a certified taxpayer will be systemically decertified. New TAS taxpayers will also be systemically decertified.
TAS will not incorporate this guidance into the next revision of IRM 13.1.24 as the IRS Commissioner's decision is temporary. New guidance will be issued once the IRS Commissioner makes a final decision on this issue.