Monday, October 01, 2007

VAT charges introduced for EU Second Lifers

I included a note about ICrave TV and Lessig's notions on zoning the Net in my Future of the Net Pt 2 post last week. Tony Hirst has just pointed me to a note about Linden Labs' decision to charge VAT to Second Life users resident in the EU.

"At around 4PM PST, while most of Europe slept, an email was sent out about a new policy at Linden Lab. Those European customers who were awake got a bit of a nasty shock:


We have identified that you reside in a European country. Accordingly, your next bill will reflect Value Added Tax (VAT) charged at the rate specified by your country. Please note that VAT applies to all payments to Linden Lab such as land sales, monthly maintenance fees and Premium subscription fees.
If you are eligible for a VAT exemption, you may submit proof of your exemption status, such as your VAT number, here:

If you have other questions, please read the VAT FAQ:

You can also contact us via the support portal:

Best regards, and thank you for your continuing support.

Linden Lab
Creators of Second Life"

Now users of SL are, understandably, not always entirely truthful about their details so what if you said when signing up that you lived in a diferent country to where you are actually resident? According to Linden Labs FAQ:

How does Linden Lab determine who to charge VAT for?

"When you registered your account, you told us what country you live in. If that country is in the EU, then VAT is applied.

If you say that you come from a different country that doesn't charge VAT, it's very likely that discrepancies between your IP address and your declared country would get caught in our risk detection system and may cause your account to be flagged for review or even suspended."

This was inevitable and the only surprising thing is that it has taken them so long to get round it, though I suspect dedicated Second Lifers won't be seeing it like that.

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