These days, if you apply for a passport the IRS will hear of it. The data collected in this case may help the IRS in identity verification and for other yet, unclear uses. Recently, the IRS proposed certain regulations to govern the information received. However, these rules will only take legal effect when finalized, as they are only proposals at the moment.
Green Cards not Left Out Either
When applying for a United States passport or looking to renew one, one must now disclose some tax information during the application process. This also applies for those applying for permanent residences in the U.S. (a green card). Though some of these rules are decades old, they have been altered and the expanded new list contains the applicant’s:
- Full name, even previous name
- Address of primary or regular place of residence in the country of residence together with the mailing address (only if different)
- Social Security Number, also referred to as the Taxpayer Identification Number
- Date of Birth
The applicant is required to submit this information together with the passport application. Otherwise, he or she can face the penalties imposed by the IRS. The agency can fine you up to $500 if you fail to give this information, so be warned.
Should you Care?
Many people may wonder if the IRS has the power to prevent someone from getting a green card or passport. For instance, if you have a hefty tax bill and you apply for a passport, will you get it or not? Well, this is a rare case and perhaps it seems like the IRS’s authoritative hand does not reach this far.
Undoubtedly, the IRS, together with the Department of Justice, take pride in catching tax cheats. They even arrest notorious tax scofflaws the moment they graze the U.S. soil. It is also a fact that when facing prosecution, one will have to give up their passport. Worst case scenario, the passport can be cancelled altogether, and it is presumed that a renewal application will not be allowed unless you clear your tax situation.
So, should you care or throw all caution to the wind? As a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, remember that you will be legally required to report your worldwide income, regardless of wherever in the world, it is taxed. Furthermore, you will also have to disclose all your foreign accounts, if you have any. This calls for one to tread very carefully.