Taxing virtual economies

Posted on Wednesday, Oct 18 2006 @ 08:08 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Online games with virtual economies like Second Life and World of Warcraft are starting to attract real-world tax attention:
"Right now we're at the preliminary stages of looking at the issue and what kind of public policy questions virtual economies raise -- taxes, barter exchanges, property and wealth," said Dan Miller, senior economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress.

"You could argue that to a certain degree the law has fallen (behind) because you can have a virtual asset and virtual capital gains, but there's no mechanism by which you're taxed on this stuff," he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The increasing size and public profile of virtual economies, the largest of which have millions of users and gross domestic products that rival those of small countries, have made them increasingly difficult for lawmakers and regulators to ignore.

Second Life, for example, was specifically designed by San Francisco-based Linden Lab to have a free-flowing market economy. Its internal currency, the Linden dollar, can be converted into U.S. dollars through an open currency exchange, making it effectively "real" money.
Read on over at Reuters.


About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.



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