IRS Put a Hold On My Passport

The IRS has the authority to put a hold on your passport due to unpaid IRS tax. As a tax attorney, I concentrate in helping individuals navigate tax-related issues. In this blog post, we will explore the IRS’s authority regarding passport holds, the implications of such holds, and the options available to resolve your tax debts and regain your passport privileges.

Can the IRS Put a Hold on My Passport?

Yes, the IRS has the authority to put a hold on your passport if you have a significant tax debt. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, enacted in 2015, grants the IRS the power to request the Department of State to deny, revoke, or limit passport issuance or renewal for individuals with “seriously delinquent tax debts.”

A seriously delinquent tax debt is defined as an assessed, individual tax liability exceeding $54,000, including penalties and interest, for which a Notice of Federal Tax Lien has been filed, or a levy has been issued. However, there are exceptions for taxpayers who have entered into an installment agreement, offer in compromise, or are in the process of contesting the tax debt in court.

Implications of IRS Hold on a Passport

If the IRS places a hold on your passport due to a seriously delinquent tax debt, the implications can be significant and you need serious IRS tax relief:

Restricted Passport Renewal or Issuance

A passport hold prevents you from renewing your existing passport or obtaining a new passport. This restriction can affect your ability to travel internationally for personal or business purposes.

Limited Validity Period

In some cases, the IRS may allow the issuance of a limited validity passport that only permits travel for specific purposes, such as medical emergencies or humanitarian reasons. This limitation further restricts your travel options.

Potential Embarrassment and Inconvenience

If your passport is revoked or limited due to a tax debt, you may face embarrassment and inconvenience when dealing with immigration authorities during international travel. It’s crucial to resolve your tax debt to avoid these potential complications.

Remove the IRS Put Hold on a Passport by Resolving Unpaid IRS Taxes

If the IRS has placed a hold on your passport, it’s important to take prompt action to resolve your tax debt and regain your passport privileges. Here are some steps you can take:

Pay in Full

If financially feasible, paying the full amount of your tax debt, including penalties and interest, is the most straightforward way to resolve the issue and lift the passport hold.

Set Up a Payment Plan

If paying in full is not possible, you can negotiate a payment plan or installment agreement with the IRS. This allows you to make regular monthly payments towards your tax debt over an extended period. Once you have entered into a payment plan and made the required payments, the IRS will generally release the passport hold.

Seek an Offer in Compromise When IRS Put Hold on Passport

An offer in compromise (OIC) is an option if you are unable to pay the full amount owed. With an OIC, you can negotiate with the IRS to settle your tax debt for less than the total amount. If the OIC is accepted and you adhere to the terms of the agreement, the IRS will release the passport hold.

Request a Collection Due Process Hearing

If you believe that the IRS has placed a passport hold in error or want to dispute the amount of your tax debt, you can request a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing. This gives you an opportunity to present your case and potentially resolve the issue.


The IRS does have the authority to put a hold on your passport if you owe a significant tax debt. However, there are options available to resolve your back taxes and regain your passport privileges. Whether it’s paying in full, setting up a payment plan, seeking an offer in compromise, or requesting a Collection Due Process hearing, taking proactive steps to address your tax debt is crucial.

If you’re facing a passport hold due to back taxes, consulting with an experienced Illinois tax attorney is highly recommended. They can guide you through the resolution process, ensure your rights are protected, and help you navigate the complexities of dealing with the IRS.

Don’t let a passport hold hinder your travel plans. Take action today to resolve your tax debt and regain your passport privileges. Contact attorney Robert Schaller to discuss your situation and chart a course towards a tax debt-free future.