Owing money for back taxes to the IRS can be a very stressful situation. Not only are you going to have to pay penalties and interest on the unpaid money, the fact that you are behind in your tax obligations can affect your professional life and your personal relationships.
In the near future, having unpaid taxes could also affect your ability to travel in many cases. According to provisions in December legislation, state departments could be ordered by federal agencies to revoke or deny a person’s passport if he or she owes more than $50,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest.
This could be devastating to people who travel for business. Being unable to fly could compromise a person’s position and/or earnings which could make it even more difficult to address and repay back taxes.
Even if you are traveling for pleasure or personal reasons, being unable to go somewhere because you don’t have a passport can be very upsetting and stressful. Family vacations may have to be put on hold; trips to visit friends abroad may no longer be possible; anyone traveling to Georgia from a U.S. state without REAL IDs could be caught up by the IRS because they will need to travel with passports.
Reports indicate that these changes and the obstacles for U.S. travelers will be coming at a date that has yet to be specified. However, this could be a good reason to address back taxes you may already have sooner, rather than later. This is particularly true if you travel outside the U.S. or use your passport for other identification purposes.
Source: CNBC, “IRS back taxes may mean really getting grounded,” Harriet Baskas, March 21, 2016