Tuesday, March 24, 2020

DC Rules That IRC § 7345's Passport Revocation Based Upon Seriously Delinquent Debt Is Constitutional

A district court has found in Maehr, (DC CO 2/28/2020) 125 AFTR 2d ¶2020-498, that Code Sec. 7345, which allows for a taxpayer's passport to be revoked if the taxpayer has a seriously delinquent tax debt, is constitutional because it bears a rational relation to a legitimate government interest, to wit, the collection of delinquent tax debts

Having a "seriously delinquent tax debt" is, unless an exception applies, grounds for denial, revocation, or limitation of a passport by the State Department. If the IRS determines that a taxpayer has a serious delinquent tax debt, it will "certify" that debt to the State Department. (Code Sec. 7345(a)) The State Department will then revoke the taxpayer's passport.
The Supreme Court has held that the right to travel is a part of the liberty of which a citizen cannot be deprived without the due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. (Kent v. Dulles, (S Ct. 1958) 357 U.S. 116)
In reviewing whether a law infringes on a constitutional right, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has held that if a law burdens some lesser right than a fundamental right, the law is merely required to bear a rational relation to a legitimate government interest ("rational basis scrutiny"). (Dias v. City and Cty. Of Denver, (CA 10 2009) 567 F.3d 1169)
The IRS certified that Mr. Maehr had a seriously delinquent tax debt. The State Department then sent him a letter ordering him to surrender his passport to the State Department. Mr. Maehr did so.
Mr. Maehr then brought motion in district court, arguing that the State Department's revocation of his passport violated his constitutional right to travel. Mr. Maehr argued that his right to travel internationally was a fundamental right, and that Code Sec. 7345 should be declared unconstitutional.
The district court found that Code Sec. 7345 is not unconstitutional:
First, the court found that the right of international travel is not a fundamental right. While Kent provided that travel was protected by the Fifth Amendment, the district court said that protection only applied to travel within the U.S. Since international travel is not a fundamental right, any law restricting it is subject merely to rational basis scrutiny as per Dias, the court said.
Second, the court found that Code Sec. 7345 met the rational basis test. The court said that the legitimate government interest is its interest in collecting delinquent tax debts. And taking away a taxpayer's passport is rationally related to that interest.
Once You’ve Resolved Your Tax Problem With The IRS,

The IRS Will Reverse The Certification Within 30 Days Of Resolution Of The Issue And Provide Notification To The State Department As Soon As Practicable.

  • If you’re leaving in a few days for international travel, need to resolve passport issues and have a pending application for a U.S. passport, you should call 888 8TaxAid immediately.
  • If you already have a U.S. passport, you can use your passport until you’re notified by the State Department that it has been revoked. 
  • If your passport is cancelled or revoked, after you’re certified, you must resolve the tax debt by paying the debt in full, making alternative payment arrangements or showing that the certification is erroneous. 
In Fear of Losing Your Passport? 
You Should Consult with Experienced Tax Attorneys
As There Are Several Ways Taxpayers Can Avoid
Having the IRS Request That the State Department
Revoke Your Passport.  
Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
Marini & Associates, P.A.
for a FREE Tax Consultation Contact us at:
Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888)882-9243.

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