Virtual assets in the gaming metaverse will be taxed with real taxes
The company Linden Labs, which is the developer of the popular online metaverse Second Life, has informed subscribers of unpleasant news. Now those of them who live in the United States will have to pay real taxes on transactions within the game. New times have come, and the US Tax Administration has paid the closest attention to digital assets that have real value and are used for enrichment.
The Second Life metaverse cannot be called an “innocent victim” because commodity-money relations are the cornerstone of this project. Thus, transactions involving the purchase and sale of virtual objects, such as mansions or avatars, generate up to $600 million annually. Of these, more than $80 million is paid in the form of real money directly to the players themselves, and they pay income tax from them. And this is still not bad, because at the dawn of the project, the administration tried to introduce its own in-game tax system to recoup server costs, but under pressure from the audience, it limited itself to a paid subscription.
Linden Labs throws up their hands and asks them not to blame them for anything — on the contrary, they have delayed the introduction of such a measure for several years. A precedent was set in 2018, when the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled in the case against Wayfair, Inc., Et Al. that taxes should be paid even if the object is not physically located on state land, because it is virtual. Once there was a transaction in the state, then pay the sales tax, while each state has its own rates. In California it is as much as 10%, but in Delaware and Oregon it is zero.
Experts believe that the innovation will not scare off players, but only moderate their appetites when shopping inside the game. After all, in the same Europe, Second Life players have been paying value-added tax of 17-27% since 2007 and do not grumble. On the other hand, from now on, when launching new metaverses, their authors will definitely have to take this aspect into account.