In South Korea, anyway, beginning July 1st. That’s when the government’s Value Added Tax (VAT) goes into effect on real-money transactions (RMT) in virtual worlds.

There is a threshold involved; the government isn’t interested in small fry. Apparently those who do less than 6 million won ($6500) in a 6-month period won’t have to pay the tax.

Between 6-12 million, the tax will be applied by the “middleman”, and anyone who does more than 12 million in a six-month period has to get a business license and pay the tax themselves.

The blog from which the original post came wonders who is really responsible for the tax, as the TOS of many games states that in-game items belong to the developers.

Does that really matter? It certainly hasn’t stopped the buying and selling of items. My guess, and it’s just a guess, is that ownership isn’t the point here. It’s the exchange of money that counts, and those who sell are the ones who will have to pony up.

So now that South Korea has jumped in with a tax on RMT in virtual worlds, will other governments be far behind? There’s a lot of money exchanged in these games, and I suspect it’s only a matter of time now before some sort of tax is imposed elsewhere.

And probably it will be a big mess, too. Sellers and buyers will likely look for covert means of exchange, and other tricks to avoid paying. That could lead to unpleasant restrictions in games that have RMT.

Anyway, check out the blurb on Kotaku and see what you think.

South Korea to Tax RMT in games