IRS Passport Revocation

IRS passport revocation is a consequence of someone who has “IRS seriously delinquent debt.” The law grants the IRS the right to certify debt to the State Department. If this occurs, the State Department may decide to do one of two things:

  1. Revoke your passport
  2. Deny a passport application

What is IRS Passport Revocation?

A passport revocation means that your current passport is no longer valid. In fact, the State Department will:

  • Not issue you a new passport
  • Not renew your existing passport
  • Allow you to use your passport

If you try to leave the country with a revoked valid passport, you will be denied entry onto the plane.


Having IRS Seriously Delinquent Debt means that you’re at risk of leaving the country without satisfying your debts.

What is Considered “IRS Seriously Delinquent Debt?”

Individuals who have $55,000 or more of tax debt, interest and penalties may fall within the seriously delinquent tax debt classification if:

  • A levy has been issued against you, or
  • A federal tax lien has been filed against you and other remedies are exhausted or lapsed by law

However, you will not fall into this classification if you are in a payment plan agreement, if payment is being made through an accepted Offer in Compromise, or if you are:

  • A victim of tax-related identity theft
  • In bankruptcy
  • Unable to pay due to financial burden
  • In a pending Offer in Compromise
  • Residing in a federally declared Disaster Area

Military members who are in combat zones will have the certification postponed.

How Does IRS Passport Revocation Work?

Before the IRS sends a revocation referral to the State Department, they will send you a letter (6152). That letter asks you to call the IRS within the next 30 days to take action and avoid having your passport revoked.

If you fail to come to an arrangement or call the agency, the next step is revocation.

The IRS passport revocation process begins with the IRS sending you Notice CP508C.

Understanding Notice CP508C

Notice CP508C is sent to your last known address via regular mail by the IRS. The notice is sent at the same time that the IRS certifies the debt with the State Department. State Department officials will hold any passport applications you have pending for a period of 90 days to allow you to:

  • Satisfy the debt
  • Come to a payment agreement with the IRS
  • Resolve issues with the certification

IRS officials can recommend that the State Department revoke your passport. A referral of revocation may also be made if you come to a repayment agreement that you fail to honor.

What to Do if Your Passport is Revoked Due to IRS Unpaid Back Taxes

If your passport has been revoked due to unpaid back taxes, there are a few steps you can take to have your certification reversed.

The quickest and simplest route is to simply pay the back taxes that are owed to the IRS. If that is not an option, then an alternative payment arrangement may be your best solution.

Pay Your Taxes Using an Alternative Payment Arrangement

In order to get your certification reversed, you must pay the taxes that you owe to the IRS. If you cannot make a payment in full, you have the option of making alternative payment arrangements, such as:

Offer in Compromise

An offer in compromise will allow you to settle your debt with the IRS at a lower amount than what you owe. If you are unable to pay your owed taxes in full or doing so would create a financial hardship, then this payment arrangement may be an option for you.

The IRS will consider your income, ability to pay, expenses and assets when determining whether you qualify for this payment arrangement.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, then you can submit an application for an offer in compromise.

Payment Plan

With a payment plan, you enter an agreement with the IRS to pay your back taxes over an extended period of time. While this is a convenient option if you cannot pay your balance in full right now, it is important to remember that your balance will continue to accrue interest and penalty charges until it is paid in full.

Request an Expedited Reversal if You Have Travel Plans

If you have international travel plans in the near future, you will first need to pay the taxes owed. However, the IRS can work with you to resolve your issues and expedite your certification reversal to the State Department.

If expedited, the process can take as little as 14-21 days rather than a month.

You will need to notify the IRS of any international travel plans within 45 days. You must also provide:

  • A copy of the letter from the State Department revoking your passport or denying your application for one.
  • Proof of travel, such as a hotel reservation or plane ticket.

Refunds Will Be Applied to Your Owed Taxes

If you are unable to pay your back taxes in full, you may have another option outside of a payment arrangement. If you have filed your taxes and expect to receive a refund, that refund will be applied to your debt.

If that refund is enough to satisfy our debt to the IRS, then it will be considered paid in full.

You Can Dispute the Certification or Tax Amount

If you believe that the certification was made in error or you disagree with the tax amount owed to the IRS, you can call the phone number listed on your Notice CP508C.

Reversal of Certification

Once you’ve paid your back taxes in full or your tax debt is no longer considered seriously delinquent, the IRS will reverse the certification. You will receive Notice CP508R when the certification is reversed.

If you have IRS seriously delinquent debt, there is no time to lose. The sooner you take action, the sooner you can work towards getting your passport back.

If you are facing an IRS passport revocation, we can help. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and discuss your unpaid taxes.


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