August 01, 2016

Recovering Missing Children Act Signed into Law

Claire Chiamulera

The views expressed herein have not been approved by the House of Delegates or the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association, and accordingly, should not be construed as representing the policy of the American Bar Association.

A new federal law will help law enforcement recover missing and exploited children by permitting disclosure of tax record information. The bipartisan Recovering Missing Children Act (P.L. 114-184), signed by President Obama on June 30, 2016, allows the IRS to disclose tax records to state and local law enforcement agencies while maintaining privacy protections to aid in locating missing or exploited children.

The Act permits disclosing tax information to aid in criminal investigations involving missing or exploited children. Sharing tax information will only occur if state and local law enforcement follow strict standards for confidentiality and protecting disclosure of information from unauthorized use. 

The Act also permits federal law enforcement to share limited information with state and local law enforcement involved in a task force investigating and prosecuting cases of missing and exploited children.

The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Bob Casey (D-PA). Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN) led the bill in the House.