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IRS: Stealing Is Okay If You Pay Taxes

Guilty until proven innocent, so don’t forget to declare your loot to the IRS.

Most funny memes are jokes or exaggerations, but one currently making the rounds on social media would typically fall into the category of an obvious fake – except that it is true. In it, the IRS all but presents itself as a partner in crime.

Stolen Property

Publication 17 (2021) at the IRS website is a list of reminders and requirements for the individual tax code. One of them stands out like a sore thumb:

“Stolen property.
“If you steal property, you must report its fair market value in your income in the year you steal it unless you return it to its rightful owner in the same year.”

No, this is not made up. The Tax Code apparently endorses theft if you share the loot with the federal government. It seems the U.S. government is presenting itself as a co-conspirator in crime.

GettyImages-1360187234 Al Capone

Al Capone (Photo by Daily Herald Archive/National Science & Media Museum/SSPL via Getty Images)

Al Capone

However, despite the defunding of the police and many George Soros-funded district attorneys’ refusal to prosecute criminals, stealing is still illegal in the United States, at least in theory. The IRS is not endorsing theft but rather continuing a tradition used on one of the most notorious mobsters in American history, Al Capone. He bribed public officials, ordered hit jobs, and committed other mob-related crimes. However, he was eventually prosecuted and jailed for tax evasion.

Since that time, it has proved easier to capture criminals for tax evasion than for theft. Laws have been explicitly designed to make it simpler for law enforcement to seize assets and prosecute those who fail to report their income to the IRS.

Presumed Guilty

There is no question that this strategy has helped law enforcement nab criminals that would otherwise have got off scot-free. However, it has come with what many would describe as a terrible price. In practice, if you carry a large amount of cash, the law has been rigged so that you are presumed guilty until proven innocent.

For example, in April 2021, two legal Vietnamese immigrants from New Mexico were stopped in Oklahoma by the police, who found more than $100,000 in cash in their car. The men were on their way to buy farmland with their hard-earned money, but the police confiscated it, and the two are now in court struggling to get it back.

According to an Institute for Justice report, U.S. law enforcement seized $5 billion from Americans in 2014, more than the total amount lost to burglaries that year, $3.5 billion.

While much of this booty undoubtedly is drug-trafficking related, some of it is, in effect, legalized highway robbery. However, this aspect of policing is not being defunded.

Unjust Justice

Although the methods employed by the IRS and law enforcement are effective, they muddle the role of government with criminal activity. Thomas Jefferson reportedly said that “the two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.” That advice needs to be heeded more urgently than ever.

~ Read more from Caroline Adana.

Read More From Caroline Adana

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