Imagine having your children kidnapped by their other parent. Imagine them missing for years. And then imagine finding a tiny bit of information that could lead to their recovery. You file a tax return, claiming the child as a dependent--and the I.R.S. disallows the exemption because someone else has claimed them as a dependent. Shouldn't the I.R.S. have to cough up information to help you find your children? The address where the refund was mailed? The contact information for the employer withholding wages? Well, as it turns out--"No"--says the I.R.S.. Why? Law protects the privacy rights of the other parent.
Parental kidnapping is a criminal offense, and this prevents the I.R.S. from assisting left-behind parents and investigators even though the taxpayer in question is a fugitive and there may be a felony arrest warrant in place. It's of no concern that there are children at risk. [A common misperception is that because the children have been abducted by a parent, there should be no concern.]
The details in a tax return that could guide investigators to an abductor’s whereabouts--work history and mailing address--can be critical information leading to the children. However, only if the parental abduction is being investigated as a federal crime and a US district judge orders the information released can the I.R.S. cooperate. Those abductions investigated by state and local prosecutors (most of the cases) are not entitled to get the information, even if the F.B.I. becomes involved.
There have been some attempts to change the law over the past ten years, but nothing has come to fruition. Missing children’s advocates, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Polly Klaas Foundation believe the I.R.S. data could be a potentially powerful resource.
The New York Times article I.R.S. Sits on Data Pointing to Missing Children, by David Kocieniewski, November 12, 2010, may be read here. A one-time registration may be required.
Are you in need of an attorney to help you recover your abducted child? Telephone Jeanne M. Hannah today at (231) 275-5600. See her website http://parentalkidnapping.com for information.