Child Support Arrears & Taxes May Impact Your Passport
Aug 29, 2016 | Written by: | Share
If you are a U.S. citizen, do you think that your right to travel abroad is a given? Many parents or former spouses who are obligated to pay child support are often surprised to learn that child support arrears may affect their ability to obtain a passport or travel. And many people with a tax delinquency are also surprised to learn of possible travel restrictions.
- If you owe $2,500 or more in child support, you are not eligible to receive a U.S. Passport.
The Passport Denial Program, which is part of the Federal Offset Program, is designed to help states enforce delinquent child support obligations. Under the program, noncustodial parents certified by a state as having arrearages exceeding $2,500 are submitted by the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to the Department of State (DoS), which denies them U.S. passports upon application or the use of a passport service. Further, noncustodial parents are not automatically removed from the Passport Denial Program even if their arrearages fall below the $2,500 threshold(1).
- If your child support arrears exceed $5,000, your passport may be denied, revoked or limited.
According to 42 USCS Section 652(k): Denial, revocation, or limitation of passport on account of child support arrears: (1) If the Secretary of State receives a certification by a State agency in accordance with the requirements of section 454(31) [42 USCS § 654(31)] that an individual owes arrearages of child support in an amount exceeding $5,000, the Secretary shall transmit such certification to the Secretary of State for action (with respect to denial, revocation, or limitation of passports) pursuant to paragraph (2). (2) The Secretary of State shall, upon certification by the Secretary transmitted under paragraph (1), refuse to issue a passport to such individual, and may revoke, restrict, or limit a passport issued previously to such individual. (3) The Secretary and the Secretary of State shall not be liable to an individual for any action with respect to a certification by a State agency under this section(2).
- Both parents are required to execute a child’s passport application.
As of July 2, 2001, as provided by Public Law 106-113, Section 236, both parents are required to execute the passport application for a minor child under age 14 or prove that the applying parent has sole authority to obtain the passport(3).
- The Government may withhold the issuance of a passport due to tax delinquency.
In 2011 Congress considered H.R. 4348 and S. 1813, signed into law by President Obama in July 2012, that created a new statutory means of withholding issuance of a passport or declaring an existing passport invalid, based upon a tax dispute with the IRS. If you have what is deemed a “seriously delinquent tax debt” in excess of $50,000, the IRS will now send a certification to the Secretary of the Treasury of such debt, who will forward it to the Secretary of State in order to implement a “denial, revocation, or limitation of a passport.” Welcome to Chapter 75 Subchapter D §7345 of the Internal Revenue Code. The Secretary of State will be invoking the authority of the Passport Act of 1926 (22 U.S.C. §211a) to revoke or deny your passport.
What constitutes a “seriously delinquent tax debt”? Any outstanding debt under Title 26 for which a notice of lien or a notice of levy has been filed. If you’ve (1) arranged and are making timely payments under a payment plan and (2) the debt collection is suspended because of a pending Collection Due Process hearing under §6330, or relief under §6105(b), (c) or (f) has been requested or is pending, your debt is excluded from the definition(4).
 http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=(title:42 section:652 edition:prelim)
Diana Fredericks, Esq., is a partner with Gebhardt & Kiefer, PC and devotes her practice solely to family law matters. Contact Ms. Fredericks for a consultation at 908-735-5161 or via email. Ms. Fredericks is a Certified Matrimonial Attorney and was named to the NJ Super Lawyers Rising Stars list in the practice of family law by Thomson Reuters in 2015 and 2016, and to the New Leaders of the Bar list by the New Jersey Law Journal in 2015.