IRS Removes Language That Might Have Indicated Virtual Currency Could Be Taxed

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor February 14, 2020
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Only two things are certain: death and taxes. If you play Fortnite: Battle Royale, you'll probably die a lot, but at least you won't have to worry about taxes.

Then again, maybe you will.

CNN reports that the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance all the way back in 2014 that virtual currency would be treated like property for tax services. In other words, if you bought something with V-Bucks, or the currency of any of your favorite games, that business transaction could be subject to taxation. The mandate seemed to be more focused toward more "real" currencies like Bitcoin, but would also sweep up virtual currency in your favorite games.

Except ... now the language seems to have disappeared. According to CNN, the IRS on Wednesday "scrubbed all mentions of the in-game currency from the webpage" following questioning from the news outlet and that "IRS Chief Counsel Michael Desmond told reporters at a Washington conference that including the video game currencies had been a mistake." So don't worry -- your buying virtual property in ArcheAge or The Lord of the Rings Online isn't going to be taxed the same as if you were buying real property.

Then again, maybe it will.

According to Jackson Hewitt Chief Tax Officer Mark Steber, "In the law, if it's not specifically exempted, then it's taxable. Nothing is exempt from taxation which is not excluded from the law." And there are still instructions for Schedule 1 of the tax form that asks about virtual currency transactions. Steber thinks that "more guidance, more rules, more requirements" are coming from the IRS, but you're probably safe not to report your loot box purchases for now. Maybe.

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About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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