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You've Found a Golden Runic Hammer! Click Here to Complete Your 1099 …

Published on June 25, 2007
by John Paczkowski

With millions of dollars in virtual currency changing hands each month in simulated worlds like EverQuest and Second Life, there are increasing reports of virtual-world moguls amassing real-world riches and scholars warning that these online worlds could be the “21st century’s equivalent of hiding funds offshore.” So it may be only a matter of time before tax authorities open a virtual office or two. And in the not-too-distant future, they may.

Congress’ Joint Economic Committee is expected to issue a report on the potential taxation of virtual goods by the end of July. No word yet on what it might say, although a JEC director has suggested that “as long as virtual activity stays within the virtual economy, it shouldn’t be taxable.” So is that to say that there are tax consequences for activity that extends beyond it? Sounds like it. “Any time someone wins a tangible prize or award, the value is reportable as taxable income,” an Internal Revenue Service rep told CNN earlier this year. “An accumulation of ‘points’ would not result in tax consequences, but redeeming or selling them for money, goods, or services would.”

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