The IRS can now take away your passport if you're really behind on taxes

IRS building.
(Image credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

As of this month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can revoke Americans' passports if they are more than $50,000 behind on their taxes. For the average taxpayer, $50,000 in back taxes looks like five or six years of non-payment.

The actual passport cancellation will be completed by the State Department, which is responsible for issuing the documents. People who are in the process of paying or challenging their tax bill should not have their passports canceled.

For serious tax delinquents, losing one's passport won't prevent all overseas travel: There are a handful of Caribbean islands and U.S.territories where Americans can go without a passport.

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