A bill (H.R. 5117) to ensure that families with missing children can claim the dependent child tax exemption was approved, 419-0, by the House on September 26.
The measure was drafted in response to a ruling issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in August. Although the ruling has since been reversed by the IRS, sponsor Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN) said that he proposed H.R. 5117 to prevent another such ruling.
Under that ruling, the parents of a missing child would be unable to claim the $2,800 dependent tax exemption for that child. The bill would allow the tax exemption until the missing child’s 18th birthday, as long as there is no evidence of the child’s death and no evidence that the child was kidnapped by a family member.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said, “The IRS should not profit or benefit from a child that is missing, or one that has been abducted.” She also referred to the reversal of the original IRS ruling, saying, “My colleagues have pointed out on both sides of the aisle that it is important that we take steps for the future so that this is not a sorrow or a problem that other families confront.”