# What is the “chain of authority” that allows the IRS code to force disclosure of a SSN when obtaining a passport?

The bottom of page 38 of H.R. 22, says:

Present Law The administration of passports is the responsibility of the Department of State.19

The Secretary of State may refuse to issue or renew a passport if the applicant owes child support in excess of $2,500 or owes certain types of Federal debts. The scope of this authority does not extend to rejection or revocation of a passport on the basis of delinquent Federal taxes. Although issuance of a passport does not require a social security number or taxpayer identification number (“TIN”), the applicant is required under the Code to provide such number. Failure to provide a TIN is reported by the State Department to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and may result in a$500 fine

I'm trying to understand how the privacy act and exceptions to that law relates within these governmental institutions.

In other words, the SSN is issued by the social security department, which relates to revenue. The IRS should be involved in that aspect as it relates to finance.

• Is this bill by Congress the binding law that allows the IRS to impose these requirements on the Department of State/Homeland Security? Or can independent government agencies create different requirements for inter-agency ways of doing business?

• There are several reasons a person may not be issued a SSN. How can I locate the relevant information (IRS and Dep. of State) that accommodates this scenario?

• What do you mean "IRS Code?" Are you talking about the Internal Revenue Code, which is an act of Congress and not a decision of the IRS? – cpast Dec 7 '15 at 16:47
• @cpast I wasn't aware that the code was an act of congress. I'm just researching where all the branches of authority are. Is there a way to research that, and their relative delegations of power? – goodguys_activate Dec 7 '15 at 17:48
• @LamonteCristo AFAIK all federal laws aside from the constitution are acts of congress. The only reasons I know for refusing to issue an SSN involve the person not being authorized to work in the US. All US nationals are authorized to work in the US, and US passports can only be issued to US nationals, so there's no problem with that. – phoog Dec 7 '15 at 19:40

Congress and the president control processes such as passport issuance by passing laws, which are subject to judicial review. Within the framework of the three-way checks and balances, therefore, the federal government as a whole is responsible for determining the rules for such a process.

The income tax process is also defined by federal laws. Since the federal government controls both processes, it is free to create interdependencies between those processes. For example, it can require passport applicants to give their social security numbers if it wants to be able to cancel the passports of those who are delinquent in paying their taxes.

The "bill by congress" does not become binding law until signed by the president, as you no doubt are aware. Independent government agencies may create requirements for inter-agency business by agreement, as long as that does not conflict with the law. Some statutes will say things like "... or as so-and-so may by regulation provide." This hints at the existence of another important code, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These are mostly (or perhaps entirely) regulations promulgated by the executive branch, pursuant to authority granted by the constitution or by statute.

For what reason could a US citizen possibly be denied a Social Security Number? The only cases I'm aware of where someone is ineligible is the case of a foreigner who is not allowed to work in the US. Such a person is also, of course, ineligible for a US passport, so there is no conflict in the requirement to disclose the SSN in the passport application.

• Worth noting that the US Government is a monolith; the various departments are internal subdivisions, not separate legal entities. – Dale M Dec 8 '15 at 5:12