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Friday, December 8, 2006
Is Taxation Of Virtual Assets Inevitable?
8:38 AM | Cord Kruse | 8 comments

A recent CNET News article examined the possibility that virtual assets collected by players in online games may one day be subject to taxes in the US. Dan Miller, a senior economist on Congress' Joint Economic Committee, said the growth of online worlds and the monetary value of virtual goods makes taxation an inevitability.

"Given growth rates of 10 to 15 percent a month, the question is when, not if, Congress and IRS start paying attention to these issues," said Dan Miller, a senior economist with the Congress' Joint Economic Committee, who is also a fan of virtual worlds. "So it is incumbent on us to set the terms and the debate so we have a shaped tax policy toward virtual worlds and virtual economies in a favorable way."

Miller's comments came during a Saturday panel called "Tax and Finance" at the State of Play/Terra Nova symposium, the fourth annual gathering at New York Law School of academics, lawyers and other scholars to talk about the legal, social and economic issues surrounding virtual worlds.

The panel was formed in the context of recent questions--first raised by author Julian Dibbel in his book Play Money and in an article he wrote earlier in Legal Affairs magazine--about whether the transfer of virtual assets, or players' acquisition of virtual loot by, for example, killing monsters, creates taxable events.

"If you haven't misspent hours battling an Arctic Ogre Lord near an Ice Dungeon or been equally profligate spending time reading the published works of the Internal Revenue Service," Dibbell's article began, "you probably haven't wondered whether the United States government will someday tax your virtual winnings from games played over the Internet. The real question is: Why hasn't it happened already?"
The full article can be found at the link below.

CNET News: Taxation of Virtual Assets Inevitable

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