California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark and Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar introduced legislation Wednesday that would allow the IRS to share some taxpayer information with law enforcement to help locate missing children since many people who abduct children claim them as dependents when they file their taxes.
“The information is there, and there’s no reason that law enforcement, given a proper identification, shouldn’t have that available tool that will protect the tax privacy of the parents where it is needed,” said Stark at a news conference on National Missing Children’s Day. He was joined by Klobuchar and Republican Minnesota Rep. Erik Paulsen, Republican Ohio Rep. Pat Tiberi and Democratic Connecticut Rep. Joe Courtney.
According to the Justice Department, about 200,000 children are abducted by family members each year. In 2007, the Treasury Department examined 1,700 parental abductions and found that the missing child’s Social Security number was used to file tax returns after the abductions took place in more than one-third of the cases. This means that the IRS has the names and addresses of these missing children and their abductors.
“One of the ways we can try everything is by unearthing and opening up some information that’s sitting in computers right now, and making sure, following all protections, that it gets in the hands of the local law enforcement that need it to find these missing children,” Klobuchar said.
Janis McCall, whose daughter, Stacy, has been missing since 1992, urged Congress to support the legislation.
“If we’re able to do this, if we’re able to cross-match and use these Social Security numbers from IRS, if the law enforcement is able to, then there are probably 20,000 children out there that can be reunited with the custodial parent, the one that has been searching for many years, so it’s especially important,” McCall said.
Stacy McCall was 18 years old when she was abducted along with a friend and the friend’s mother.
“We have no idea who took them,” McCall said. “We have no idea where they are. All we can do is keep praying.”
McCall is now the director of One Missing Link, a nonprofit organization that strives to reunite missing people with their families.
While the legislation introduced Wednesday would not help her find her daughter, she said she knows many families that it would help.