The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

I suppose play money is next for taxation?

OK, so I realize I'm getting ahead of myself here, but what exactly do I tell the IRS next April?

I'm not talking about the amusing but ultimately trivial question of what I put down as my job category. (Gold Farmer? Vaporware Vendor? Merchant of Dreams?) This is a tougher one, with rather more substantial implications both for me and the Ultima Online economy in general. It's the big question, in fact, the heart of it all, the only datum, finally, that the tax man is really interested in: What, precisely, is my income?

Via Kottke's Remaindered Links, If You Take a Walk I'll Tax Your Feet

It is an interesting question whether the Tax Man™ can tax virtual money from a virtual economy, especially since the virtual economy in question is the 79th largest in the world (“Yes, you too can earn $3.42 an hour clicking the mouse!”). I wouldn't be surprised if Uncle Sam doesn't attempt this soon, especially given this from the IRS:

Illegal income. Illegal income, such as stolen or embezzled funds, must be included in your income on line 21 of Form 1040, or on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) if from your self-employment activity.

Publication 525: Taxable and Nontaxable Income

Blink.

Blink.

If the IRS can say this with a straight face, then it's only a matter of time they start coming after non-existent money.

Obligatory Picture

[It's a study in contrasts—digital camera contrasts]

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