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Is your freedom worth more than $50,000?

That’s how much you need to owe the IRS for your passport to be revoked.

First, a historical perspective.

In Russia, the government controlled the movement of citizens with a permit called a propiska. It was needed for work, marriage, medical treatment, and is specifically designed to control population movements. Introduced by the Tsars, eliminated by the Bolsheviks and reinstated by Stalin, the Soviet Union used internal passports to discern a person’s rights and privileges, to deny them access to certain areas, and restrict their freedom to depart their places of residence. Even today, travel for a Russian citizen with a Russian passport is exceedingly tedious, with extensive Visa requirements.

America in 2013

On March 14th, the Senate passed S. 1813, where on January 1st, 2013, if the State Department receives notice from the IRS that a US passport holder owes more than $50,000 the State Department will not issue your new passport and can revoke your existing passport. The US joins a list of Arab Emirates and China as countries that enforce travel restrictions on delinquent taxpayers.

The law reads as follows:

SEC. 7345. REVOCATION OR DENIAL OF PASSPORT IN CASE OF CERTAIN TAX DELINQUENCIES. (a) INGENERAL. If the Secretary receives certification by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue that any individual has a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of $50,000, the Secretary shall transmit such certification to the Secretary of State for action with respect to denial, revocation, or limitation of a passport.

Passport Porkbarreling?

The provision regarding control of movement was not in the original resolution, which contains language primarily concerning highways, tolls and other dull topics. A passport may be the most important document that you own. It is your freedom and represents your ability to move freely about the world. When you are not allowed to exercise this freedom of mobility, you are essentially a slave, trapped until you work off your debts.

Is Freedom a Privilege or a Right?

Passports should not be considered a “privilege”. The United States was first populated by settlers who escaped from Europe and journeyed to the new land, where anything was possible. The founding fathers rebelled against British rule specifically because they couldn’t stand the ever-raising taxes. And now, less than 3 centuries later, America is the place of ever-rising taxes, with the ability to confine its citizens to within its borders, simply because they have a dispute over a tax bill.

The control of your own movement should be an important individual freedom that should never be stripped.

Perhaps it is time for you to secure your freedom with a second passport. You can explore different Citizenship options at Passports.IO