In a stunning move by the US government, President Obama has allowed the IRS to get the State Department to cancel a citizen’s passport if they’re delinquent in their taxes.
More precisely, if a person is abroad or domestic and their tax liability is over $50,000, they now run a high chance of getting their passport revoked. That won’t leave people high and dry who are living abroad, but it will cramp their style.
Granting these new powers is controversial as it also allows for the IRS to mandatory allow for smaller collection agencies to go after people. Complaints against aggressive and predatory collection practices are all over the books and Obama had promised to oppose such measures and actions, especially with the payday loan crisis that has put millions of Americans in overwhelming debt. His choice to join the other side has his constituents confused and opens the door to much controversy and civil liberty issues.
Will these new powers granted to the IRS and its collection agencies be abused? Will they be used against those that oppose specific government agendas? Will politicians be able to use these powers to attack their enemies by canceling their passports? Will the agencies involved use it across the board as an intimidation tactic against anyone who falls on the wrong side of the IRS?
All these questions and more are on the table and opposition is sure to rise against it. So far, if a person is located outside the US and their passport canceled or suspended, they’ll be allowed to return home. This prospect could be of severe detriment to US citizens living abroad who have families or businesses in foreign places.
For people who’ve already gone into compliance with the Treasury Dept. to pay off their tax liabilities, this revocation of a passport would be slim to none. It’s set up to go after those people who’ve continuously ignored letters and warnings by the IRS to become compliant but they’ve chosen not to for one reason or another. The new actions expect to bring in close to half a billion dollars during the next 10 years.
There’s a double edged sword here. Americans have become incensed at the tax burden situation as the average $50k a year loses the majority of their tax payment to corporate welfare, corporations that make untold billions in revenue but don’t have to pay taxes. It’s an irony that the average citizen now is going to have to live under the fear of being stranded in a foreign country where a multi-billion dollar American corporation can also set up shop and skirt the IRS.
Will this new IRS law affect you? Do you feel that it’s about time that those delinquent in their taxes should now pay up? Post your comments below.