The IRS Can Now Interrupt Your Travel Plans over Tax Bills

If you’ve recently gone through a routine Customs inspection when leaving or entering the country, chances are good the IRS knows about it. The tax collecting agency now possesses the authority to peruse through U.S. Customs and Border Protection databases and may soon acquire broad new powers to revoke the Passports of alleged tax delinquents.

Under a proposed law, the IRS will be able to unilaterally deny your freedom to travel if it believes you owe $50,000 or more in back taxes. The agency need not formally charge you with any crime, let alone obtain a conviction, in order to strip you of your Passport. A tax dispute over a mere $50,000 (which is possible for a person of modest income to acquire, especially if the IRS assesses penalties and interest on back taxes it says are owed) could land you on a “no-fly” list.

Or, if you are traveling or residing outside of the country and are under criminal investigation, the IRS may deploy agents to greet you at a U.S. airport upon your return home as soon as you step foot off of your flight. Then, they’ll take you into custody.