As the year comes to a close, it’s once again time to start thinking about taxes. Tax day is still months away, but for many people who aren’t very good at bookkeeping, tax season can be a stressful time of making sure you’ve got all the necessary documentation for the income you’ve earned and deductions you can take.
The tax code is, of course, incredibly complex, and many rely on professionals to prepare their taxes for them. Experts have a much better idea of the things you can claim to reduce your tax burden, and they can alert you to items you must declare as income if you don’t want to risk getting audited.
While you obviously wouldn’t be expected to know everything — or even most — of what the tax code says, there is something the IRS expects people to declare as income that is so absurd, you won’t believe it.
According to the IRS, “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.”
I assure you, this is not Photoshop. You can see it for yourself by clicking here.
Does this mean that, if you’re a looter who exploited the riots in Minneapolis last summer or part of the smash-and-grab crime spree in San Francisco right now, the IRS actually expects you to declare those goods you stole as income?
Probably not, but since the IRS is a government agency, who knows? Still, the infamous mob boss Al Capone was ultimately brought to justice over tax evasion — not bootlegging, racketeering, or murder.
If Capone had only declared his illicit income and paid taxes on it, he may have lived his whole life a free man.