If you’re a Swede who has unloaded an unwanted MMO account for a few extra Kronas, the taxman would like a word.
On the other hand, if you’re an American who has sold your account to a Swede, the taxman would still like a word.
GameCulture points out a Stockholm News report detailing efforts by Swedish tax officials to come to grips with e-commerce. To that end, the Skatteverket is even taking a look at small fish like gamers:
The Swedish Tax Agency hold that you have to pay tax for selling an avatar from a computer game. The agency has investigated the trading in avatars during a 14 month period and found the advertised sum of avatars for sale by Swedes to be 662 million SEK. But no one has ever declared any income for trading in avatars to the Tax Agency.
But even U.S. citizens could be subject to Swedish taxation on such virtual transactions, according to the Economics of Virtual Worlds blog:
[Note that] a sale has taken place in Sweden if the seller is a Swedish trader who sells [to]… a private person in Sweden or another EC [European Community] country. A sale from a foreign trader to a Swedish trader has also [legally] taken place in Sweden. The same applies if a trader from outside the EC sells services to Swedish private persons.
Thus, even U.S. citizens are subject to Swedish taxes in virtual worlds, as long as one of the participants is Swedish. The implication is that if similar tax rules are adopted around the globe, U.S. citizens could end up owing taxes to Sweden, Japan, South Korea, and other nations (depending on which and how many worlds they are part of) – all because they played some games…
Skatteverket states that gamers should send invoices to each other. It’s unreasonable stuff they’re talking about. The [game] users [typically] don’t know who they’re interacting with…