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Robin D.
Robin D., Senior Tax Advisor 4
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 15308
Experience:  15years with H & R Block. Divisional leader, Instructor
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I have outstanding tax due in the U.S. but live in UK. Can I

Customer Question

I have outstanding tax due in the U.S. but live in UK. Can I be detained/arrested at the airport in the U.S.?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Robin D. replied 1 year ago.

An IRS Customs Hold is (stopping taxpayers at airports who are out of compliance with their U.S. tax obligations) performed by the Department of Homeland Security. They can detain taxpayers on the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS) to ask additional questions.

You would have to be on the hold list and that most likely when you actually owe tax (and usually a significant amount) and the IRS has already been attempting to collect form you and you have ignored all contact attempts.

Taxpayers are sent a letter providing them notification that they made the Customs Hold list.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thanks for the answer. Have moved several times in the UK. Is there an address or general phone number where I could reach someone to get all of this sorted out?
What does the Customs Hold entail at the airport?
Expert:  Robin D. replied 1 year ago.

The Customs Hold is just that, a delay where the person is asked about there current residence and information specific to them (the hold list identifies that). Customs officials can stop the taxpayer upon entry into the U.S. to ask for contact information during their stay, so that the IRS can attempt to collect taxes owed.

You can contact the IRS directly, Call(###) ###-####or the phone number on your bill or any notice you have received.

Expert:  Barbara replied 1 year ago.
Different expert here - My name is ***** ***** please allow me to provide you with information that will ease your worry/concern.
There are approximately 1,700 taxpayers on the Customs hold list with approximately $1.6 billion in delinquent tax assessments. In other words, average amount owed per delinquent taxpayer is $941,176. Your chance of being on the Customs hold list is slim to none.
That is not to say that if you have a prior year tax balance outstanding, live abroad, and haven’t paid it, it is still wise to become compliant.
I hope this additional information is helpful to you.
Thank you and best regards,
Expert:  Robin D. replied 1 year ago.

Please let me know if you need more information about contacting the IRS and possibly setting up a payment plan for your tax debt.


An Installment agreement allows you to pay your tax debt over time and can be set up online at IRS.GOV for many taxpayers.

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