While Uncle Sam demands a portion of law-abiding Americans' hard-earned money in taxes each year, even criminals are supposed to report their earnings to the U.S. government, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
The government agency literally spells it out, saying that drug dealers must report their ill-gotten gains and thieves must report the value of purloined items, unless those items are returned during the same year they were taken.
"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," according to the government agency.
"If you receive a bribe, include it in your income," the IRS says.
"Income from illegal activities, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 8z, or on Schedule C (Form 1040) if from your self-employment activity," the agency says.
Someone tweeted about the reporting requirements: "So once you report your stolen stuff you legally get to keep it right? Asking for a friend."
The Erie County Sheriff's Office in Buffalo, New York posted the following on social media: "Attention all car thieves. The stuff you stole from people's vehicles in 2021 must be claimed on your income taxes. If you need an itemized list of property call us at 716.858.2903 & a Deputy or Detective will be happy to meet you with the list. It would be our pleasure."