Bounty hunting has never really been part of the income tax law, but Creed J. Pearson gave it the good college try in the Tax Court:
Petitioner strongly opposes the beliefs and actions of a particular organization (the organization), and he asks that we allow him to audit the Organization and pay the taxes he owes out of the proceeds of that audit, even though petitioner’s tax liability is not related to the Organization.
The Tax Court didn't take Mr. Pearson up on his offer, but for a fleeting moment I wished they had. If private sector tax preparers were turned loose on the taxpaying public with the opportunity to audit returns and keep some of the proceeds, we could make a pretty good living, at least until all of us were brutally murdered by our relatives and neighbors.
Still, the social fabric would be unlikely to survive if we could all audit everyone else in lieu of paying our own taxes. Hobbes' description of a "war of all against all" describes life under such a system:
Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
And refunds would take forever.
The Tax Court never names "the Organization" that Mr. Pearson so dislikes, but I think I have a pretty good guess.
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