The past year has seen a wave of looting incidents across the nation. While the federal government has not successfully stopped those crimes, it is making sure not to miss an opportunity to profit from them.
The Internal Revenue Service recently issued Publication 17 for the 2021 tax season, and it offers parameters for Americans to follow when filing their taxes.
Under the category of “stolen property,” the IRS explained to thieves who acquire something of value that they must give the government its share.
“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,” the publication said.
Of course, the IRS apparently does not care about the fact that the owner of said property lost something of value.
According to Publication 547, personal theft and casualty losses are not deductible unless they are “attributable to a federally declared disaster” as of 2017.
To understand how ridiculous this is, imagine one of the many stores that have been looted over the past year. Say, for example, that looters raid a Target store and steal $10,000 worth of goods.
The IRS believes those criminals should report that $10,000 as income so that the government can tax it and make money. Meanwhile, Target is out of luck and cannot deduct that $10,000.
If this all sounds like the government is acting like some sort of Tony Soprano, that’s because it is. The federal government is quite literally asking for its cut of the profits made from crimes.
Does the federal government care about Americans?
Yes: 2% (3 Votes)
No: 98% (170 Votes)
“Drivers blared their horns Saturday evening as dozens of thieves carrying luggage and bags darted from a Nordstrom department store near San Francisco and hopped into cars waiting for them outside,” the Post reported. “All but three of the 80 or so looters escaped, police said.”
Two days before that incident, San Francisco police said at least 10 businesses, including a Louis Vuitton store in Union Square, had been broken into during a separate looting spree.
“These crimes are happening around the Bay and across the country,” San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin wrote on Twitter that week. “I stand in partnership with our local, regional, state, and federal partners as we work together to do whatever it takes to keep you safe.”
These crimes are happening around the Bay and across the country. I stand in partnership with our local, regional, state, and federal partners as we work together to do whatever it takes to keep you safe.
— Chesa Boudin 博徹思 (@chesaboudin) November 21, 2021
If the federal government cares about keeping Americans safe, you certainly wouldn’t be able to tell by reading the IRS tax guidelines. In Publication 17, it seems the concern is much more about their own piggy banks.
According to the New York Post, the IRS also told Americans to include “[i]ncome from illegal activities, such as money from dealing illegal drugs,” on their tax returns. Nothing says “solve the opioid crisis” quite like asking for money made from illegal drug dealings.
In these IRS guidelines, the message is loud and clear: The federal government cares more about money than it does about protecting Americans.