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Comparison definition.  Federal income tax is a tax on net income, not a sanction against wrongdoing. That principle has been firmly imbedded in the tax statute from the beginning. One familiar facet of the principle is the truism that the statute does not concern itself with the lawfulness of the income that it taxes. Income from a criminal enterprise is taxed at a rate no higher and no lower than income from more conventional sources. '[T]he fact that a business is unlawful [does not] exempt it from paying the taxes that if lawful it would have to pay.' United States v. Sullivan, 274 U. S. 259, 274 U. S. 263. See James v. United States, 366 U. S. 213.  

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