Failure to Tax the Metaverse: A Potential Tax Haven, According to Harvard Legal Expert
In a recent research paper titled “Taxing the Metaverse,” Harvard legal scholar Christine Kim highlights the need to tax and regulate the rapidly expanding metaverse, describing it as “a laboratory for experimenting with cutting-edge policy.”
Kim argues that as the metaverse allows individuals to generate and accumulate wealth within its ecosystem, it should be subject to tax regulations. Neglecting to tax the metaverse, according to Kim, would create a haven for tax evasion.
The paper emphasizes the metaverse’s capability to record all digital activities and track individual wealth, enabling governments to promptly track and tax income upon receipt. This, Kim suggests, has the potential to disrupt the current United States tax law status quo.
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Furthermore, Kim proposes changes to the taxation process. Currently, metaverse users in the U.S. are only subject to taxation upon realization or when engaging in taxable events, such as withdrawals. However, Kim suggests taxation should occur immediately upon receiving gains, even if they remain within the metaverse, including unrealized gains and income.
An issue that arises from this proposal is the enforcement of tax laws within the metaverse. Kim identifies two potential enforcement methods. The first involves individual platforms withholding taxes on behalf of users. The second, referred to as residence taxation, would require platforms to provide tax information to users who would then be responsible for filing and paying their own tax obligations.
The research paper also emphasizes that taxing the metaverse presents lawmakers with unique opportunities, even for those who typically have no interest in Web3 and metaverse technology. Kim suggests that the metaverse can serve as a testing ground for experiments, simulating scenarios that are unlikely to occur in the physical world.
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