Under a new law expected to take effect in January 2016, the State Department will be able to block American citizens from leaving the country by seizing all passports belonging to people who owe taxes.
The list of delinquents will be compiled by the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) and will consist of anybody who owes at least $50,000 in unpaid federal taxes.
The rule has already been passed in similar versions by the House of Representatives and the Senate. This plan happens to be tucked-away within a highway-funding bill, H.R. 22, that is now scheduled before a conference committee and they are expected to pass it in just a few weeks.
It is alleged that the new rule is not going to apply to a taxpayer who is already in the process of resolving any tax debt with the IRS. This includes anyone who already has a payment installment plan established, as well as those individuals who choose to challenge and are engaged in contesting their debts in court.
The State Department has said that it could issue a passport for “humanitarian reasons” when it comes to emergency circumstances. The new law is expected to take effect early next year, and it was estimated by the Joint Committee on Taxation that it could raise over $300 million dollars over the next 10 years.