I.R.S. Withholds Information Believed Vital to Finding Abducted Children

By November 17, 2010Child Custody

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Parental abduction occurs when one parent illegally prevents the other parent from exercising their visitation or child custody rights. Children abducted by a parent are often difficult to find, making any information that could lead to their whereabouts vital to an investigation. Although the abductor is considered a fugitive from the law, they often continue to file truthful and accurate tax returns. Whether they are honest because they want to receive their tax refund or avoid further legal complications, the information contained in the tax return is often a direct route to locating a missing child, but the I.R.S. is prevented by privacy laws from releasing the information without a court order.

The problem occurs because the information held by the Internal Revenue Service is considered federal taxpayer data and can only be released by a court order when the abduction is investigated as a federal crime. Many of the United States parental abduction cases are conducted in state and local courts that do not have the authority to force the federal agency to release the information.

A lot of legislation and discussion in the past few years has been focused on returning abducted children who have been taken across international borders but little has been done to address the I.R.S. data situation in the United States. “It’s one of those areas where you would hope that common sense would prevail,” said the president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In 2004, a child advocacy group moved close to enacting change, but Congress ended their lobbying based upon a fear of the “gradual erosion of taxpayer privacy.”

Source: The New York Times “I.R.S. Sits on Data Pointing to Missing Children” David Kocieniewski 11/12/10