A bill authored by a Southland lawmaker that could potentially allow the federal government to prevent any Americans who owe back taxes from traveling outside the U.S. is one step closer to becoming law.
Senate Bill 1813 was introduced back in November by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Los Angeles) to “reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes” .
After clearing the Senate on a 74 – 22 vote on March 14, SB 1813 is now headed for a vote in the House of Representatives, where it’s expected to encounter stiffer opposition among the GOP majority.
In addition to authorizing appropriations for federal transportation and infrastructure programs, the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” or “MAP-21″ includes a provision that would allow for the “revocation or denial” of a passport for anyone with “certain unpaid taxes” or “tax delinquencies”.
Section 40304 of the legislation states that any individual who owes more than $50,000 to the Internal Revenue Service may be subject to “action with respect to denial, revocation, or limitation of a passport”.
The bill does allow for exceptions in the event of emergency or humanitarian situations or limited return travel to the U.S., or in cases when any tax debt is currently being repaid in a “timely manner” or when collection efforts have been suspended.
However, there does not appear to be any specific language requiring a taxpayer to be charged with tax evasion or any other crime in order to have their passport revoked or limited — only that a notice of lien or levy has been filed by the IRS.
Boxer vowed last week to push House Republicans to pass the bipartisan transportation bill that would keep the Highway Trust Fund from going bankrupt.
“Thousands of businesses are at stake, and eventually we are talking about nearly three million jobs at stake,” she said in a statement. “There are many people on both sides of the aisle in the Senate who want to get our bill, MAP-21, passed into law, and I am going to do everything I can to keep the pressure on the Republican House to do just that.”