Guess who wants expats’ Social Security numbers

The U.S. State Department will seek Social Security numbers from Americans who renew a passport. This is a rule that went into effect last week.

American Citizens Abroad, an expat advocate group, said that while not discussed in the regulations, it seems clear that with this information the tax people, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service,  can check to see whether tax returns are being filed.

“These rules do not provide that a passport will not be issued or will somehow be invalidated or ‘frozen’ if forms/returns are not filed,” said the association. “This subject is, in a fashion, addressed in other proposed legislation that would, in effect, freeze or cancel a passport where the individual did not pay a sizable tax liability.”

Congress is considering a bill that would prevent individuals with tax liabilities from leaving the United States. Already forbidden to leave are those who are in arrears with large child support payments.

The new regulation also asked those seeking passports to provide a permanent address and a valid mailing address, either U.S. or foreign, said the association. The rules apply if the passport is sought in the United States or at State Department consular services overseas.

Some Latin American countries require proof that a citizen or resident is current with income taxes in order to leave the country.

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