If you have ever played a MMO game, free or not – it does not even matter – you certainly saw that there’s a real industry inside the game worlds, selling and purchasing in-game items or even trading in-game currency for real money. This is already happening for quite a while but it’s only now when a government decides to impose a tax for profits made from virtual money.
In a report elaborated by The Wall Street Journal we can find out that the Chinese State Administration of Taxation announced a personal income tax of 20% of profits from virtual money. And, as you can imagine, the storm was only steps away.
First of all, because it’s pretty hard to decide the actual value of in-game currencies (even though the Chinese government grants taxation officials to do that) and it will probably be very hard to keep track of all the transactions made. And this could backfire and have as a result the birth of a “virtual mob” handling in-game currencies and trying to pass by the law. Too sci-fi? Maybe, but it’s slowly becoming a reality.
Although the decision of imposing this tax is backed up by the government’s fear of inflation (there are millions of players investing billions of yuans in the virtual worlds) and not their hunger for more money. At least that’s the official statement.
After all, the reaction of the players who strongly disagree this decision to impose real taxes for virtual money, can be summed up by the words of a Chinese blogger: “many game players are classmates or friends in real life, thus most of them won’t have credentials when trading virtual money. It’s difficult to prove the original value of virtual currency, though.” And the storm begins.
[Image credits: Morgasbord]