Report Recommends Denying Passports to Tax Evaders
(MarketWatch) — About 1% or 224,000 of the 16 million passports issued in fiscal year 2008 went to people who owed more than a total of $5.8 billion on their taxes. And that’s counting only taxpayers who reported what they owed or those whom the IRS caught through an audit. The figure doesn’t include people who never filed a tax return or who understated what they owed, according to the GAO report. Some taxpayers who received passports that year “accumulated substantial wealth and assets, including million-dollar houses and luxury vehicles, while failing to pay their federal taxes,” according to the GAO, which conducted the study of U.S. State Department, IRS and other data at the behest of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. Read the report on the GAO site. One passport recipient is a World Bank employee who owes $300,000 to the IRS. Another is a gambler who owes $46.6 million in unpaid taxes and who “gambled tens of millions of dollars at the same time the income taxes were not paid,” according to the report.