This posting is dedicated to Meunier.
Caveat: only a lawyer can or should attempt to read written law. (You can pay lawyers, and pay them exorbitantly — with no guarantees that they can read the stuff either.)
Even so, an extraterritorial U.S. person who holds only a U.S. passport may want to take a glance at the recent passport-related legislation glommed into the FAST Act.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act can be found at
On pages 418-422 is found
Subtitle A–Tax Provisions
which adds to Internal Revenue Code “the following new section:”
SEC. 7345. REVOCATION OR DENIAL OF PASSPORT IN CASE OF
CERTAIN TAX DELINQUENCIES.
The not-comforting language in these five pages includes this zinger:
The taxpayer may bring a civil action against the United States in a district court of the United States or the Tax Court to determine whether the certification was erroneous or whether the Commissioner has failed to reverse the certification.
This seems to translate as — “You think the U.S. has made a mistake? O.K. Up to you and your lawyer to sue the United States. And good luck to you.”
The tired cliché “Timing is everything” may liven up with entirely new meanings for a person who finds themselves assessed and then either has notice of lien filed against them with “administrative rights” OR faces levy “pursuant to section 6331.”
So what is that bit after the little word “or”? It seems to be this:
26 U.S. Code § 6331 – Levy and distraint
This section starts off with some viciously tight timelining:
If any person liable to pay any tax neglects or refuses to pay the same within 10 days after notice and demand, it shall be lawful for the Secretary to collect such tax (and such further sum as shall be sufficient to cover the expenses of the levy) by levy upon all property and rights to property …
Apart from the clear presence of time windows whose business is inexorable closure (whatever the specified periods may amount to in the only-for-lawyers details), some more accessible news (p. 421-422) falls under the heading
WITHOUT SOCIAL SECURITY ACCOUNT NUMBER
and provides for the denial of passport to anyone (i) not providing a number, or (ii) providing “an incorrect or invalid social security number willfully, intentionally, negligently, or recklessly.”
That memorable string of adverbs should cover just about anything?
When all is said and done, though, only a lawyer can or should attempt to read written law.
But sometimes curiosity leads into doing scary things. Especially scary for the extraterritorial U.S. person without alternative passport.
Yours truly, a fearless explorer, a survivor of many shipwrecks — never through airlift because neither a bird (condor, ostrich, whatever) nor a U.S. person who can count on that famous benefit of worldwide extraction from dire situations.
Oops, forgot, ostriches can’t fly anyway. Still, they are feathered bipeds. Feathered without tar, by the way.