By Coleman Jackson, Attorney
August 14, 2015
The U.S. passport can only be obtained by United States citizens or non-citizen nationals. People who apply for a U.S. passport or the renewal of a passport, other than a passport for use in diplomatic, military or other official U.S. government business, must comply with requirements when applying for the U.S. Passport. 26 USC §6039E (this is the Internal Revenue Code) states in addition to the applicant’s name and current residential address that the U.S. passport applicant must, in part, provide the following information:
- The taxpayer’s ‘Taxpayer Identification Number’ (TIN); this is typically the Social Security Account Number assigned to the person by the Social Security Administration, but it could be the ITIN assigned to the person by the Department of Treasury if the applicant does not have a social;
- List the foreign country in which the applicant is residing;
- Any other information as prescribed by the Secretary of Treasury
The IRS has published final regulations implementing IRC §6039E in Treasury Regulations Section 301.6039E.1 Information reporting by passport applications – a detail analysis of the types of information required of passport applicants when applying for the U.S. passport after July 18, 2014.
Passport applicants who fail to supply complete and accurate information in a timely manner may be subject to a penalty of $500 per application. Prior to assessing the $500 penalty the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will send the applicant a written notice requesting the missing information or requesting correction of the erroneous information. Applicants inside the United States are given 60 days to supply the missing information or correct the erroneous information. Passport applicants outside the United States are given 90 days to make appropriate corrections or supply missing information. If the passport applicant shows reasonable cause to the satisfaction of the Internal Revenue Service, the $500 penalty can be waived. The burden is on the applicant to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the IRS that the failure to supply complete and accurate information on the passport application is due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect. The IRS looks at all the surrounding facts and surrounding circumstances when making ‘reasonable cause determinations’ based on the passport applicant’s reasonable cause defense.
The passport applicant’s legal exposure may not merely be limited, however, to this IRS $500 civil penalty. The U.S. passport application clearly set forth certain serious warnings that any U.S. passport applicant should be familiar with and take extremely serious when applying for the U.S. passport as follows:
Typically, suspected fraudulent passport applications are referred to the appropriate Passport Agency’s fraud office. A fraud prevention specialist is assigned and typically will run a series of checks to determine whether there is a likelihood of fraud. Upon making a determination that the passport applicant is likely an imposter or fraudster, the case is typically referred for further inquiry to the Diplomatic Security Service, which is the law enforcement branch of the Department of State. Ultimately, all this could lead to a criminal complaint against the passport applicant alleging commission of crimes under 18 USC.
Applicant’s should exercise due care and diligence when completing the U.S. passport application and submitting substantiating documentation. Conflicts between the U.S. passport application and the supporting documentation and conflicts within the documents could create a lot of headaches and heartaches. And unreasonable and unexplained conflicts could lead to fines and/or imprisonment.
This blog is written by the Immigration & Tax Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. It is for informational and educational purposes and does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and the reader. If you have questions about your particular situation regarding federal or state taxation or immigration matters, you should consult with independent legal counsel with respect your individual situation or circumstances.
Coleman Jackson, PC
Immigration & Tax Law Firm
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Dallas, Texas 75206
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