Committee approves Paulsen bill to give investigators new tools in child abduction cases

The House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation on Wednesday that U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) introduced to provide additional resources in child abduction investigations.

Investigators can only access tax information under current law when a federal crime has been committed, an act of terror has occurred or while tracking a fugitive.

Under Paulsen’s Recovering Missing Children Act, H.R. 3209, law enforcement officials would be able to obtain access to tax information through a warrant to assist in child abduction investigations.

“While this type of critical tax information can be used for federal crimes, terrorist attacks and tracking down fugitives, current law doesn’t allow investigators to access federal tax records to help find an abducted child,” Paulsen said. “The bipartisan Recovering Missing Children Act fixes this by including missing children cases as an acceptable instance when law enforcement, with a warrant, can work with the IRS to secure tax information crucial to solving a crime. This is a commonsense fix that could save lives.”

Each year, family members abduct 200,000 children. In 46 percent of those cases, when the child’s Social Security number was entered into IRS databases, a tax return had been filed under a new address.

“H.R. 3209, sponsored by our colleague Erik Paulsen, will help local law enforcement agencies find missing or exploited children,” U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said. “This legislation enjoys bipartisan support and will empower the IRS to share taxpayer information with state and local officials. The bill also includes strong safeguards so that sensitive taxpayer information is protected.”

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