The Senate has unanimously approved a provision to a highway transportation bill that would revoke the passports of people with seriously delinquent tax debts.

The provision, which was part of a larger amendment by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to the Senate version of a surface transportation bill, was approved by unanimous consent last Tuesday. The amendment would allow the State Department to deny, revoke or limit a passport for any individual whom the Internal Revenue Service has certified as having a “seriously delinquent tax debt” in excess of $50,000. The amount would be adjusted for inflation in future years.

A seriously delinquent tax debt would be one for which a notice of a federal tax lien or a notice of a levy has been filed. However, there is an exception when the debt is being paid in a timely manner under an agreement with the IRS, or if collection on the debt has been suspended because of a collection due process hearing or other relief has been requested or is pending.

The same highway transportation bill also contains a separate amendment aimed at curbing offshore tax abuses (see Senate Passes Amendment to Fight Offshore Tax Abuses). A vote on the overall highway bill is expected this week in the Senate. The House is expected to take up the bill in the coming weeks.

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