As desperate and unconscionable as it may seem, the United States government is doing it – they’re putting forward legislation right now - that will revoke or deny a passport to overseas American citizens who are not tax-compliant with the IRS, including filing of taxes, FBAR and FATCA.
The Current US Senate Bill 1813, also known as MAP-21, has specific language and requirements that oblige the US Secretary of State to revoke or deny a passport to any US citizen that the IRS Commissioner deems to be ‘seriously delinquent with regard to tax debt’.
As MAP-21 is written, ‘seriously delinquent tax debt’ is pegged at $50,000 and debt that has a levy or lien against it and publically filed. In the realm of US expatriate tax, FBAR reporting and FATCA, if one adds up undeclared income, foreign held assets, penalties and interest, this can be a minimal threshold to be included among the non-compliant.
An aspect of all of this that is unbelievable and gives one pause is that this is a purely administrative procedure – There is no due process. There is no hearing before a US court. This places one just a signature away from potentially losing one’s rights as a US citizen and putting one in a diminished and defensive position that would be difficult for anyone to see their way out of.
As a US citizen, the days of ignoring the ever-growing and pervasive methods of data-sharing that reveal one's personal information to the United States government, or just hiding one’s head in the sand are numbered. The United States is desperate for tax revenue. The expatriate realm, for the US government it is rich with untapped income and, as demonstrated with MAP-21, the United States is very serious about the matter. Let there be no doubt – if individual American expatriates do not become whole with the US Government, then they breach the possibility that they will be without a passport, without recourse and without a home country.
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