The Senate has introduced bipartisan legislation that would give law enforcement access to tax return information that could help them locate missing children.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced the bill, known as the Access to Information about Missing Children Act, earlier this month, along with John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
“As a former prosecutor, I know that returning missing children to their families is one of law enforcement’s highest priorities,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “This legislation will cut red tape and provide police and prosecutors access to leads that can help bring missing children home. From the investigators on the case to the anxious parents waiting at home, we can provide new information to help track down missing children and bring criminals to justice.”
Under current law, the Internal Revenue Service is barred from sharing any information with law enforcement officials, even if the information would help to locate a missing child. According to the Justice Department, over 800,000 children are reported missing each year – and more than 200,000 of those cases are the result of family abductions.
Klobuchar said that family abductors frequently assume false identities and travel to different states to escape detection. However, a significant number of these abductors continue to file federal tax returns. According to a Treasury Department study, captors filed missing children’s Social Security numbers with the IRS in more than one-third of cases.
The Senate bill would allow law enforcement authorities to access the names and addresses on federal tax returns, as long as they obtain court orders from a federal district court or magistrate judge.
Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and served for eight years as the chief prosecutor for Hennepin County.
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