- Nov 4, 2009
Ya thats pretty much where I stopped thinking about the whole situation once it hit the ownership part. But that would give Valve an escape route if it ever came down to it. I would think with Steam's high profile it would atleast make them fairly cautious about this sort of thing though. And ya even in this case it wouldn't amount to a huge amount of tax, but if he'd been in business for a few more years it would have woken someone up eventually.Sgt. Sykes said:Actually until I went out of business at the end of last year, I was a business and I dealt with customs a lot of times.Antari said:You are a private citizen. They are a business. They have to follow much stricter laws concerning importing and exporting.
The games are activated on steam, accessed from the EU to the USA through steam. Even if he exported them, the governments see Steam as the exporter because it realistically owns the product as per the EULA.
In this case, Gifts. Most private citizen tax laws allow gifts up to a certain value, or within a reasonable classification of gift or inheritance. In this case he was "gifting" games to around 20 people, on a regular basis, that'll add up quickly (average out how many steam games you and your friends own). Not just during holidays and birthdays. When Steam submits its tax information to the EU at the end of it all, the EU will see that its more than a simple "gift" arrangement. Because either way both parts of the transaction are on Steam's records, regardless of what payment method was used. At that point the EU would no longer allow them to be classified as Gifts, and tax them.
Anyway, you're right that the fact that Valve officially 'owns' those games complicates matters a little, but actually not really. Valve has sold those games to a US citizen; they don't need to care one bit about what he done with them. Valve can easily prove who they sold the goods to, who they received the payment from and that they pay the taxes from these sales to the US government (because it's no export). Valve is legally out of this.
Also, their EULA doesn't affect the matter of international taxes - they may still 'own' the property per EULA, but they still made the sale to the US citizen and that US citizen made a sale to a EU citizen.
The only people who should deal with taxes are the people who received those gifts (the buyers in the EU) and that's only if the summary of any one 'gift' they received is valued higher than 22 Eur.
And you know, nobody really cares about such small tax evasion. I casually receive packages from outside EU, clearly marked as not gifts with high values, and I still receive them without any customs notification. Of course, if I wish to enter those purchases into my expenses, I need to contact the customs myself.
Either way its a Robin Hood sort of generosity hes going for. He can't expect the Sheriff to sit by and do nothing, whoever happens to be the Sheriff at that moment.