Senate Passes Bill to Help With Finding Missing Children

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By Kaustuv Basu

June 16 — The Senate passed a measure that would let the IRS share tax return information with state and local law enforcement agencies to help find missing children.

The Recovering Missing Children Act (H.R. 3209), introduced by Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), was passed by the House on May 10 and received unanimous consent in the Senate on June 16.

About 200,000 children are victims of abduction by a family member every year. The bill would let the Internal Revenue Service share tax return information filed by the abductors, including addresses, with law enforcement. Current law prevents the agency from doing so.

In a test case, a 2007 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report that matched data from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the IRS revealed 237 new addresses of missing children and 104 new addresses of alleged abductors (38 DTR G-6, 2/27/07).

Paulsen and Courtney have said that the bill is a common-sense measure that deserved to be passed.

“Only the president’s signature is needed to provide law enforcement with a critical tool in finding missing and abducted children,” Paulsen said in a statement after Senate passage of the bill. “This legislation fills the ‘information gap’ that investigators often face when trying to reunite a child with their loved ones.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kaustuv Basu in Washington at kbasu@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brett Ferguson at bferguson@bna.com