U.S. Tax Court Rules Against Constitutional Challenge to Passport Denial for Delinquent Taxpayers

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Thursday, April 8, 2021
Bruce Zagaris

On March 30, 2021, the United States Tax Court granted summary judgment to the Internal Revenue Service with respect to a taxpayer debtor/physician’s constitutional challenge to the IRS’ certification of the delinquent tax debt under IRC, § 7345. [1] The taxpayer’s outstanding tax balance was close to $500,000 and so the IRS turned to a new tool in its collection toolbox - § 7345.1.  Under this section, the IRS certified that Robert Rowen, the taxpayer, had a seriously delinquent tax debt to the Treasury secretary, who then transmitted the certification to the State Department.  The IRS notified Rowen of the certification.  At the time of the suit and the Tax Court’s opinion, the State Department had not taken any action concerning Rowen’s passport.  Nevertheless, Rowen petitioned the Tax Court, challenging the IRS’s certification as unconstitutional and a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).[2]

[1]   Robert Rowen v. Comr. of Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Tax Court, Docket No. 18083-18P, 156 T.C. No. 8, Mar. 30, 2021 https://www.thetaxadviser.com/content/dam/tta/summaries/tc-8-rowen.pdf.

[2]   For the text and other information on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, see https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights.