New Forum Discussion Threads and VAT Discussion

We would like to invite you to join us in the Forums as we experiment with how we communicate with you, our Residents.

Try out a “live discussion” with us, in the Forums, where we’ll read along and answer questions, for the next 3 days.

We’ll keep the thread open for comments for 72 hours, so Residents from all time zones will have an opportunity to participate. We’ll read all comments, and we’ll participate as well, but please be patient and remember this is a conversation that will last 3 days.

First Forum Discussion Topic: VAT
Recently Zee Linden noticed a number of questions about Linden Lab’s charging European Residents VAT, from comments on M’s blog post about his first 60 days at Linden Lab. Zee wanted to answer some of those questions, and so VAT will be our first Forum Discussion topic.

Zee will be reading along, and periodically responding to comments there, so please join the conversation here if you’re interested in talking with us about VAT.

Thanks! We look forward to hearing what you think about this format.

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92 Responses to New Forum Discussion Threads and VAT Discussion

  1. Darien Caldwell says:

    I like the sound of this. It will be good for Lindens to return to the forums in some form. Not everyone can come to Office Hours as much as they may want to, a Forum provides a more inclusive way for Lindens and Residents to communicate. Bravo. πŸ™‚

  2. Anthony Hocken says:

    Thanks for the transparency and willingness to openly talk about the more sensitive issues. Always appreciated. It’s a good one to start with – the VAT issue I’ve never been happy with, and it was the sole reason for me deciding against purchasing a sim. So it’s probably in Linden Lab’s interest to makes things more fair globally.

  3. SMART! I’m impressed. This is the best move I’ve seen yet on LL’s part in terms of working with the community and communicating with us.

    ***** (FIVE STARS)

  4. Rio luik says:

    well i’ll state the obvious to get the flames rolling. it’s not linden labs’ fault that you E.U. people have the VAT. if you don’t like the VAT, work to have them repeal it at your end, nothing can be done here.

    @2 more fair precicely how? charge everone more to make the ones suffereing under the VAT feel better about themselves? yeah right.

  5. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Does this man we’re going to roll back three years and have Lindens actually participating in the forums on a regular and continuing basis again?

  6. Marianne McCann says:

    Interesting. Please keep this idea going!

  7. Kittrannia Cassini says:

    Living in the UK and the introduction of VAT charges had a huge bearing on me deciding NOT to buy my own sim. I am sure this is also true for alot of other none US based SL residents.

    I’m sorry Lindens but the price of buying and then running your own sim is simply beyond alot of us, especially as we never really “own” anything but are simply paying for server space and your costs in maintaining them.

    As a side note I would be interested in knowing what it does cost Linden Labs to buy and maintain these servers and how much profit is made monthly from your tier fees…which to me are extortionate.

    In the end owning a SIM and paying your tier fees is an individuals choice to make. Your pricing and monthly charging system made me choose not to.

    Look forward to your responce
    (a happy parcel renter)

  8. Bubba B says:

    Which Forum is this in?

  9. Darien Caldwell says:

    It’s in the Official Resident Forums. Here’s a link:

    http://forums.secondlife.com/

  10. Katt Linden says:

    Thanks so much for your enthusiasm for this idea, Darien, Anthony, Bettina, Marianne, Rio, Agent Stonecutter and Kittrannia!

    And thanks for the Five Star Review, Bettina!

    Bubba, you and all other interested Residents can join the VAT Forum Discussion in the Second Life Forums Town Hall Feedback area.

    The direct link is: ” http://forums.secondlife.com/showthread.php?t=273938 ”

    Thanks!

  11. dilbertdilweg says:

    Nice to see the communication lines open . Tho Vat does not affect me. I am always willing to learn about all aspects of SL to be able to help others. Having this open discussion helps educate us all πŸ™‚

  12. Dinohunden says:

    OMG…… I’ll have to eat a lot of words, if it also shows, that you acyually will listen to us user too, and not just sweet/smalltalk…. I really like this oppertunity to get a chance to perhaps get an answer…. It’s easy to punk for the past, but I hope you’ll start looking forward, especially after the lastest report at the economy in here, sad reading, Sims was in minus!!

  13. Dizzy Banjo says:

    Great move Lindenz πŸ™‚

  14. Argos Hawks says:

    I appreciate any attempts that the Lindens make to have an active discussion with the residents, but is discussing a dead issue that a US company has no power to change really going to help anyone?

  15. Lex Neva says:

    I like this idea. I can’t wait to see what the next conversation topic will be!

  16. Dinohunden says:

    I hhttp://forums.secondlife.com/showthread.php?t=271804ope it will be about bots… I made this thread in the forum… 6511 showings till now and 473 replies: http://forums.secondlife.com/showthread.php?t=271804 It sure is a topic that matters..

  17. Dinohunden says:

    ooops, sry, the name was wrong here, that’s not my mail, after my name, please ignore

  18. Macphisto Angelus says:

    I am in the US so the VAT does not effect me… but, I wanted to say THANK YOU for making a discussion about it on the forums.

    I believe when LL decided that the blogs were the best medium of discussion they were mistaken. I said it then and I still believe it.

    It is wonderful to see you utilizing the town hall area and giving the residents somewhere to talk about it with you that is easily accessed wherever they are. Not to mention does not lock after 150 posts.

    I hope this is a glimpse into the forum changes coming. If so.. it is a wonderful first step.

  19. communication and VAT has always been a fun topic in context of SL.
    i remember like it was yesterday when you introduced VAT without a single announcement and tried to make sure the topic would be played down, all, of course only, because you were so concerned you could “confuse” your poor american customers.
    basically that was the day where i decided that no matter how successfull my busienss here goes, LL cannot be taken seriously as a company and certainly is not mature enough to carry the weight of responsability to give serious ventures a home.
    this issue is not somethign i will ever forget.

  20. Shibari Twine says:

    As this is about the changes Katt brought in I need to draw her attention to the fact thiat if you compile your own viewer, or use a channeled one, the “You Must Upgrade” box covers and hides the status blog lines.

    We don’t know what the hell is going on.

    Maybe you should try a single merged blog, at the bottom of the screen. and remove the status entries from the top right.

  21. Razor says:

    BEST idea EVER!

    & the new ruths rock

  22. Rocky Pickles says:

    i’ve just read the forum thread. am i lost or is the vat a tax charged by the country in which one lives? seems that way.. and linden lab has to collect it.. what is the noise about ? i’m gonna go dance and/or cuddle .. film at 11 πŸ™‚

  23. les says:

    Forums? What a nice idea!

    Just like the olden days!

  24. This is great that now any resident can go to the forums.

  25. Smokey Newman says:

    The worst thing was an EMail just sent out saying we willbe charged, no time period to get ourselves adjuted or anything. One other hing we would like to know is what othere taxes other countries are paying and if not why are we being penalised.

  26. Smokey Newman says:

    To add to my comment it seems that anybody outside America are second citizens (no pun intended). When anything is doe it seems to benefit the USA even though the rest of the world make a gteat contribution to SL.

  27. Sorry, but VAT is the EU’s protectionist scheme that subordinates any company wishing to do business in the EU to paying these outrageous taxes. I dare say it’s not an “American” thing but the EU lording it over the rest of the world.

  28. Cee Ell says:

    @25 – “what othere taxes other countries are paying and if not why are we being penalised” ? You’re not being penalized; you’re paying for your country’s massive socialized infrastructure. I’m not being dismissive, it just an observation that this is how your nation has decided to pay its bills. In this particular case, the method happens to effect competitive international pricing for this particular service. The USA uses an income tax instead — presumably all the American land barons are declaring their income as taxable when they extract is as USD$. C’est la vie.

    Tell you what, though — you magically reduce the Euro to parity with the USD$ and I’ll magically reduce your VAT to 0%. πŸ˜‰

  29. uh-oh says:

    Geez at least as a renter you do not get stuck with international banking fee’s everyime you buy lindens or pay tier or any other charges from LL since LL outsourced American jobs to the UK.

  30. Snowflake Fairymeadow says:

    Just curious, can we ask questions about anything we want, or only the topics that are brought up by the Lindens?

  31. Phantom Ninetails says:

    Sigh… Forum should be singular not plural…

  32. Shibari Twine says:

    Giggle, you are right Phantom! Fora or just Forum.

  33. Shibari Twine says:

    Cee Ell says “Tell you what, though β€” you magically reduce the Euro to parity with the USD$ and I’ll magically reduce your VAT to 0%. ;-)”

    Although I am tired of the Europeans crying about their VAT I am also tired of Americans using this weak argument.

    Taking an American who has $10 left over at the end of the week and a European who has €10 left over at the end of the week then the European will be able to buy more $L, therefore teir is cheaper *IF* they buy currency.

    ***BUT***

    The complaint the Europeans are making is from the landlords perspective. They are not buying their L$ they are getting them from Rednecks sorry Americans who don’t pay VAT then when the Europeans pay teir from that rental they have to cough up extra. Profit is lower.

    Then as a final insult when they finally cash out their profits it takes about 50% more L$ to buy a Big Mac in Dusseldorf than it would in downtown Oklahoma.

    The smart Europeans are gaming the system, getting a trusted friend or people like JR Unknown to handle the teir for them.

  34. Jack Barlow says:

    Why is this VAT issue being discussed again ?

    Unless Linden Lab are to abolish us VAT paying country members the unfair surcharge over the non-VAT paying country members and at different rates, why open a closed subject?

    For example … a 1024sqm costs US$5/month in Tier.

    In the USA – you pay US$5/month,
    In the UK – you pay US$5 + 17.5% (VAT) = US5.88/month,
    we in the UK pay more for nothing extra in service or land support.
    Unfair? Yes.

    Linden Lab is supplying a service based in the USA and thus is non-vatable if we in the UK are based in the USA. But as soon as the product is exported to the UK (down the internet) we are liable to VAT.

    This matter should not be discussed further – I am sure raising this issue in the forum will serve no purpose.

  35. Linda Brynner says:

    Very good idea to discuss via a forum.

    Although LL cannot be counted for the VAT for EU users, LL can be counted for how they have communicated and acted.
    It has triggered my thoughts about SL to see LL as a non professional and hardly a basic normal organized firm.
    That issue was the first event that has seriously damaged my trust.
    To my opinion SL has shown to be so seriously incompetent that I fully understand the rage over the VAT issue.
    SL could have soften the matter by allowing EU residents 50% discount on the VAT-part in the end price / netto prrice of their billing.
    Either by direct billing or by credit note ( direct billing would be more efficient of course ). The other 50% could have been taken by LL since LL is counted for the incompetence.

    Another serious trust braker has been the the price lowering by 40% whilst keeping the tier at anoutraging price of US$ 295 for Islands.

    Killer no.3 was the flood of mainland supply 2x.

    My plan had been to buy a few sims at the end of the summer of 2007. Shortly after the introduction of the VAT I had reconsidered.
    And after the flood of mainland supply shortly after the intoduction of the VAT I killed my plan.
    In all after math I am very pleased not ever to have bought an Island !! Since many issues later have crippled trust ( as said price reduction, and second land flood… and not to forget the sudden communication of the Open sims !! )

    The way SL treats people who invest in SL is a scandal !
    Too many issues has happened to gain my trust again.

    I have cashed out all I had lately ( luckely with high profit since I have never invested in Islands ), but since SL has proven to be highly unreliable I have my investestments in a pause untill further notice.

  36. Novis Dyrssen says:

    All in all, an interesting and promising move. The topic to start with is a pretty dense one, though, because it opens a old can of worms again, just after the heated discussions about it have finally died down a bit.

    Also I thought discussion was meant to provide new ideas and solutions. This is not something that will actually profit from discussion – it can’t be helped, obviously, so why gather feedback from residents on this topic? Why not start with something less heated but equally important like search result calculations?

  37. Shibari Twine says:

    Jack Barlow says: “In the USA – you pay US$5/month,
    In the UK – you pay US$5 + 17.5% (VAT) = US5.88/month,”

    The Average wage in the USA is $35,448 pa, or $2.90 an hour
    The Average wage int he UK is Β£23,607 pa or $2.60 an hour

    That $5.88 is worth Β£2.97.

    As you see, a person in the UK works about 1/2 the time for the basic teir even once the VAT is added on.

  38. Novis Dyrssen says:

    Shibari, your calculations are somewhat off. With a lower per hour income I don’t think you can safely say that a persons works less for the same…

    And I personally don’t think it’s the small tiers that should be brought into comparison here…

  39. Resolved (TM) says:

    Pure marketing operation under cover of so-called “transparency” and “open discussion”.

    Things won’t change, will they ? So all this is useless.

    As already stated a few days ago, you Linden Lab are lucky the € is high vs the USD, when all this comes to a more balanced exchange rate, beware you gotta lose a MAJOR PART of your residents… and revenues.

    the VAT banged upon EU residents heads was NOT introduced as per the statements you did (internet law dating 2003, etc…), and A CAREFUL READING of the act exposes that it does not apply to the kind of service you provide. Or were you LL so naive to live with unlegal financial flow up to Q3 07 ? Hm ? I can’t reasonably believe os.

    PS : @31, you’re correct : ONE forUM – TWO or more ForA (latin plural) πŸ™‚

  40. @ Cristalle

    WhooooT to YOU! I agree totally…..

    Like others said, if the EU has unfair taxation, you should speak with YOUR government about it. Linden Lab is doing nothing other than what they are required by EU law (that’s right EU law, NOT US law) to do. If you live in the EU and do not like the exorbinate taxes you have to pay on electronic commerce, then tell your government about it. I’m sure MANY U.S. companies would LOVE to shout the same argument relatively about excise taxes, but you don’t see G.E., Coca~Cola, or any other major player discontinuing business due to the fact they have to pay import taxes to other countires in which they ship their product overseas now do you? In summer, do you whine to your electric and water compainies when there is the usual annual rate increase (I bet you don’t send them a thank you note when they drop the rates for winter? I bet not… πŸ˜‰

    Anyway; to all:
    Have a GREAT Second Life πŸ˜‰

  41. Vincent Nacon says:

    Um… what made Linden Lab think they are in position to do anything about the VAT taxes? They can’t…. they aren’t from Europe nor is Royal of any countries.

  42. Raven Primeau says:

    All I know is I pay VAT on nuthing basically as thats what land is basically in SL. So to save myself 17.5% Vat on this nuthing I sold my humble 1/4 sim and buggered off to rent privately and pay no VAT.

    Seems to me there are many ill and many overinformed ppl posting both here and on the forum set up, fascinating as it is I’m sure.

    Just one point for the tintanks is in the UK at least:-

    We pay a healthy slice of our wages as Income tax,
    Then a wedge of National insurance *which supposedly pays for our med care NOT VAT!*
    And VAT on top on all but a handful of supposed essentials.

    Asinine comments like *move to a country that doesnt charge VAT* is so F..ing stupid, now you wonder why so many have a poor view of *the land of the free*

    As for applying to international law, I for one as a woman wont be covering up my body except for my eyes to appease Muslim decrees will you. me so wonders where this will end?

    Frustrated and VAT free *smiles knowing my non existant VAT money isnt supporting the phoney war that ar@e in The Whitehouse started in Iraq and that bumlicking imbecile Blair here in the UK followed along!

  43. MikeC Althouse says:

    Are other topics allowed in this thread or just VAT topics?

    Mike

  44. Abigail Merlin says:

    again and again americans are claiming the VAT is offset by the lower usd compared to the euro.
    yes estate owners from europe do have to pay less euros for the dollar compared to a year ago but we also earn less euros back from dollar compared to a year ago.

    The only difference it makes is that it becomes less problematic to invest real live money into sl other then that I would be losing money if I didn’t have a VAT id.

  45. grumbit grut says:

    3 days huh…

    And the rest of the year ????

    pff…

  46. VAT is a domestic tax imposed by a country’s government, and a government is a sovereign state. The UK uses VAT as one of many methods of funding the government. That’s a choice for the elected officials of that country. My US-based company has international distributors and they have to abide by the fiscal policies of the country in which they are based. The UK offices pay VAT and I can’t say “wait a minute, we’re from the US and VAT shouldn’t apply” because it’s a cost of doing business. I wish we COULD avoid VAT but sadly US law doesn’t apply to the UK (no matter what conspiracy theorists may believe!)

    This forum can discuss VAT to its heart’s content but unless it forms a UK-based lobbying group and gets support from UK politicians to make off-shore virtual worlds exempt from taxation, then actions will be limited.

    Dropping prices for the UK to “compensate” for the VAT is unfair. In essence, the rest of the world who do NOT pay VAT end up subsidizing the UK government! To be fair you would have to offer the lower price to everyone, but that (a) still leaves a differential and (b) reduces LL revenue by cutting margin – not good.

    So, much as I appreciate the pain felt in the UK because of VAT, it is, sadly, the fault of the UK government and not Linden Lab. International corporations have less control over foreign governments than you might think πŸ˜‰

    And one side point about relative taxation rates: When I moved to the US from the UK 13 years ago (yes, I am an ex-pat) my basic taxation rate dropped. Hurrah! But… that taxation does not include health care and so I had to take out insurance, which then effectve;t pushed my “taxation” back up to where it was! Boo! So whichever country you are in, either a government or a private enterprise will take monet from you for “services.” Here in US, the government doesn’t take money for health but you’d better be paying it to an insurance company!! Voluntary private taxation πŸ˜‰

  47. Pepper Haas says:

    Suggestion for next forum topic: Have them explain why on earth they put the Release Keys button where it is, the reasons for the button itself to exist, and why they are so stone deaf to all appeals of all users to take the damn thing out!!

  48. Goedeke Messmer says:

    While the abrupt introduction of VAT was rude, the rest of the discussion is moot. I buy software online all the time, and if the vendor is from a VAT collecting country the order form always has the option to collect it from residents of VAT countries as well.

    Attempting to make everyone equal when they live in countries with different legal foundations and financial theories is absurd. The US resident doesn’t pay VAT because we pay plenty of other taxes, especially income taxes (which apply to earnings cashed out here in the US as income).

    If the VAT is so high you can’t survive it, may I suggest some crates of tea in the harbor? It worked for the US to avoid taxation without representation… which is apparently what some of the VAT paying countries want to impose to make things “equal”. Tell you what, you start paying US income tax and I will be interested in your VAT.

  49. Curtis Dresler says:

    I get a bit of a difference from Shibari’s numbers. The $ 35,448 annum comes to USD 17.04 for an average work year of 2080 hours, and the pounds 23,607 to 11.35, or pounds to dollars $ 22.48, with the hours worked for tier breaking down to .2934 US and .2616 London, with the US paying a premium in hours worked per $ 5 tier of only 12.16 per cent, all other things equal. If the numbers you quote are gross wages, needless to say, all other things will NOT be equal. And the rate will be different on Monday…

  50. Resolved (TM) says:

    I suggest — as a EU member — that the UK joins the Schengen zone :] i.e.: the EU € free-trade zone — very roughly you can without any constraint buy a car in Germany, a house in France, subscribe an insurance policy in the Netherlands, get a yatch in Slovenia etc.. at the best price you can find. Poooor UK – lol

    Knowing that we pay some 0,65 € for 1USD and that the standards of living in Germany, France and the Netherlands are more or less the same as in the USA, knowing too that the UK is in between those 3, what are you waitinf for ?

    /me smiles gently at the 51th US state … err no i meant the UK sorry. DC excepted. lol

  51. Stephe Ehrler says:

    I really don’t understand what the VAT paying people expect. That LL should raise their fees to everyone to “hide” the VAT and basically make the rest of the world share in their tax burden? If for some reason our government started applying sales tax to online services, I couldn’t expect LL to cover those. I really don’t see how opening this up for discussion is going to help, unless LL intends to be unfair to the rest of the world to appease a group of people who seem to selfishly expect everyone else to pay more so they can pay less.

    Like someone else stated, in other countries there is no national heath coverage so we end up paying this “tax” for health insurance outside of playing SL. Do you really think it’s fair you ask: that I help pay for your health care by raising prices in SL to cover VAT costs for you, when I get nothing in return from your side? That IS having your cake and eating it too! Of course we all would like to pay less or have someone else pay more so we can pay less but it’s not fair to do that..

  52. Clark Abismo says:

    Portugal’s VAT tax is 20% since July 2008, not 21% like is stated in your documents. Please, update your information [http://static-secondlife-com.s3.amazonaws.com/corporate/Second_Life_Pricing_List_20080514.pdf].

  53. Captain Noarlunga says:

    The discussion will change nothing. LL has decided to set up offices in the UK and therefore the service they provide is liable to VAT. This will not be changed by a forum discussion. The discussion is being held to allow people to let off steam and to allow LL to say they discussed it. Then the matter will be closed by LL. So the answer is…..if the VAT is hurting your earnings then find other ways to make the difference up. Land purchase and sales (and rental) income isn’t the only way to ean in SL. No business or individual in the UK goes around saying they cant survive because of VAT. Its a fact of life. Accept it and get on with your life ….. or get out of the game. And before you ask…..yes, I am a UK VAT paying resident.

  54. Maelstrom Janus says:

    I must be honest and say I can see why this old ‘wound’ was reopened. We in Europe have to pay V.A.T because we’re being provided with a service. Lindens complies with this law presumably because it has an office based in Europe and intends further expansion.

    What bothers me is why cant we pay in our own currencies at fixed rates of pounds/ euros through lindens. Our tier rates are not fixed because the value of our currencies varies against the dollar and yes this is a negative factor in considering whether to buy more land in sl.

    Furthermore lindens continually professes to be doing well so why do membership holders never see any more visible positive returns – an upping of the amount of land that can be held for the tier rates or alternatively a drop in the existing tier rates r an increase of the numbers of prims available per plot of land. Lindens may be doing well…but its down to the continued support of your membership.

    And while I applaud to see feedback from Lindens during the ongoing conversation held here so far unless Ive missed something I can only see one comment from Lindens to over 50 comments by members.

  55. Not so fast says:

    How can you tax something that is not a reliable product? The events of the past few days, and today following on them, prove that SL is nothing but a toy for only the most wishful of thinkers… SL seems to be bent on proving many times a week that no corporation or educational institution should ever take a risk on it. What is happening right now in-world is just a joke.

  56. Elyzabel Whitfield says:

    My solution is to be one of those ghastly freeloaders with a basic account and no land ownership. I suspect this does not prevent me having as much fun as everyone else.
    If you don’t like the rules of the game, whether or not you think they are fair and equal to everyone or not, then don’t play the game. Second Life is not compulsory. Payment of money to Linden Lab, with or without VAT on it, is voluntary.

  57. Anny Helsinki says:

    Cappy, they are able to charge vat from eu-office, but the didnt follow eu-laws?

    online games are allowed

    over 60 % of the users are not from usa anymore
    forget the usa-rules

  58. Not so fast says:

    @57 sorry to pick on you but the perspective you represent just does not get it. If SL is not much much much much more reliable asap even the likes of you will not find it here to play with.

  59. Cee Ell says:

    @44 Abigail — I didn’t mean to suggest that “the VAT is offset by the lower usd compared to the euro” as a matter of Linden policy, but merely to point out that currency exchange rates, like the VATs, are a legal and economic fact that we and the Lindens have to take as a given. Our individual ability to change these matters is essentially zero — hence “magically…”

    Since you mention it, though — it *is* perfectly true. When the pound sterling and Euro were weaker, for example, I would often pay various costs and fees in GBP or EUR instead of USD when the charge rates warranted it.

    Equally, the US Congress and the states of California and Massachusetts could easily decide to apply state sales taxes to Second Life charges within those state. They simply have not chosen to do so (yet).

    Certainly the suddenness of the Linden’s VAT collection was inconvenient, to say the least. But I would think that once the company acknowledged — or more likely was informed by authorities — that they *must* apply VAT, the charges were due to the government without any sort of honeymoon period. In fact, I would wonder whether the Lindens were held liable for VAT that they had not previously collected, but should have.

  60. DR Dahlgren says:

    Totally off topic on VAT – but – the new login screens are nice, but where is the STATU window and recent blogs window. They no longer seem to be on the screen.

    DRD

  61. Hulk Ah says:

    The idea behind VAT is to benefit european companies, to give them a benefit over companties when it comes to european earning money from european citizens. In second life this is indeed a downside for those who are purchasing or renting directly from Linden Lab. This may not be ‘fair’, but living in most european countries also means you have a high living standard and have alot of social security. Compared to certain other countries, this is not ‘fair’ either. VATis just a downside for europeans we have to accept.

    Not only the VAT itself is different (“unfair”) when it comes to the value of income and expenses, we should also realise that the whole value of MONEY is different in all countries around the world. In some countries earning 200 US a month makes you have a little extra money, while in other countries you can have a relatively rich live from it. This is also ‘unfair’. Bottomline: Alot of things are not ‘fair’ when it comes to money and the value of it.

  62. Alf Lednev says:

    Mega congratulations to Katt and Zee for the Forum revival, thats a huge positive for LL.

    I’ve waded through the 13 odd pages, most is just p#ssing in the wind stuff. The only issues I see are

    (i) that Lindens handled introduction of VAT abysmally and still refuse to apologise properly (alwyas so defensive).

    (ii) more importantly other US online companies do mange this far better. One highly intelligent post on the Forum mentioned Blizzard (WoW), I-store etc, yet Lindens have failed utterly in implementing anything similar. The EU’ers are happily using those Companies online services and paying VAT, Lindens stuffed it up, and a forum vent won’t fix anything.

    The Board really does need culling, some smart IT minds there but also some obvious business cretins.

    I loved Zee’s comment on gambling, Lindens working to bring back LOL yeah right. Oh and paying customers expect both stability and value for money, not one or the other.

  63. Sandor Balczo says:

    If nothing else, the forum helped me understand how ignorant a lot of people are regarding VAT and especially the European Union.

    I belong to a generation that lived through the upward path of the European Economic Community and the dream of a common currency and a common tax system which has in fact become a reality.

    Most people who criticize the EU and VAT perhaps do not even know that before the introduction of the Value Added Tax and the free trade agreement, we had to pay CUSTOMS DUTIES and LOCAL SALES TAXES in intra-European business transactions.

    Zee Linden does not improve the understanding of the advantages the European Union has brought to a lot of people in this continent, when he uses words like “crazy” or sentences like “we do not understand, but we comply”.

    VAT was introduced as a sales tax to be used within Europe and possibly with the same rate one day. By the same token, those Europeans who complain about Brussels (which is the site of the European Commission by the way, not the European Parliament) always forget when the EU subsidized their governments with substantial financing to improve their infrastructure or revive their moribund economies.

    I hope one day we will have a European Constitution allowing complainers to leave the EU and then I want to see how many will actually leave.

    As for the VAT imposed on online services and applicable to non-EU companies, the only thing I can say is it should have been announced and implemented better, and I also believe that some might object about the actual place of service, which defines the application of the so-called VAT special scheme.

    Personally, I still believe we do not receive a service in the EU from LL but in the US, unless one or more servers are physically located in the EU, which is something I was never able to find out.

    Sandor πŸ™‚

  64. Ciaran Laval says:

    #53 “No business or individual in the UK goes around saying they cant survive because of VAT.”

    Not quite true, the reason we’re paying VAT in Second Life is because companies went around saying VAT wasn’t fair and got the law changed to the current position.

    Which ironically in Second Life creates the very situation these companies were complaining about.

  65. Maelstrom Janus says:

    @ 63 give the people in England a vote on remaining in the EU and see how long we are still in it. The EU is the grand European state of Mittel europe envisaged by Hitler. I see a grasping octopus with a corrupt and greedy brain. Give us the vote to get out now.

  66. Linda Brynner says:

    Rollig my eyes.
    Ermmm, this issus has been raised a year ago… good morning SL.
    Btw, registing a sleeping business in RL at the COC is much cheaper
    than the VAT here… fyi.
    Ciao

  67. Linda Brynner says:

    Or opening an Ltd at London will do for a few bucks.

  68. Linda Brynner says:

    Still cheaper than the VAT bull at SL lol

  69. Vote for a better EU. Vote YES or NO at http://www.FreeEurope.info

  70. Alfons says:

    I must admit…the communication from LL about the VAT was not that good. But its the law…so why starting this discussion all over? We have to pay it some more…some less.

  71. Sandor Balczo says:

    @65: Be my guest. If the Irish people had not voted against the Lisbon treaty which is the first step towards a European Constitution, you would already be able to petition to get out of the EU in the near future. Blame the Irish you cannot for the moment.

    As a matter of fact, the British voted a poll in 1975 to decide whether they should remain in the the then-called EEC, which the UK had entered in 1971, and the majority of the population said yes. Then they complained about everything from the decimal system to the price of goods for over 30 years.

    I do not remember anyone else in the UK organizing a referendum to get out of the Union, but I look forward to it, as I could name quite a few cases when UK governments in succession humiliated Brussels by vetoing certain directives.

    Of course, once again, someone is forgetting all the money poured into the UK from Brussels to subsidize infrastructure and the economy which was faltering in the 70s and is still faltering in the 2000s.

    Sandor πŸ™‚

  72. Ray, England says:

    Sandor said.
    Of course, once again, someone is forgetting all the money poured into the UK from Brussels to subsidize infrastructure.

    EU money for the UK, there is no such thing.
    Whenever money is obtained from the EU for projects in Britain, it is nothing more than a part of our payment being returned to us with strings attached.
    If you gave someone Β£20 and they gave you Β£6 back, on the understanding that you can only spend it on what he tells you
    and that you must also add another Β£6 of your own to the expenditure, would you think that you had made a good deal?
    You would tell him to take a running jump, yet this is precisely what is happening with so called EU money.
    These figures are from parliament’s Hansard:
    Gross contribution in Β£billions before rebate
    2007 14.2………………..Rebate 3.9
    2008 14.6………………..Rebate 4.6 to 4.7
    2009 13.7………………..Rebate 4.8 to 4.9
    2010 14.4………………..Rebate 3.8 to 3.9
    2011-13 14.1……………Rebate 3.5 to 4.1

  73. Silmaure Webelman says:

    I think it’s a really good idea to have forums. Keep ’em going!

  74. Terra Box says:

    Ok, so now the 72 hour period is over and all we get is “Thanks” and
    “What I appreciate most is a chance to read your concerns and ideas, and to listen to how you’re feeling.”

    So the whole point of the exercice was just to know how we were feeling ? Wasn’t that clear already ?

    Is Zee or M going to acto on those comments or at least reply to the questions ? Is there going to be a summary or any sort of feedback ?

    If the whole thing was to simply “listen to how we’re feeling” to make you guys feel good, it was all pretty pointless.

  75. Esther Merryman says:

    The discussion on VAT was a complete waste of time, many european users dislike paying VAT, and who can blame us, but LL do as they are directed to do, so tough.
    Is basically what i got from reading through the forum.

    The disappointing part was when shown the localised pricing structures used by nearly all international businesses, Zee response was yes we would like to do that in the fullness of time, but not anytime soon, as we need to concentrate on stability of the product.

    I agree stability is the prime concern for LL, but are LL really saying that the same people who work on the stability of the platform deal with the financial side of the operation?

    If so then so help everyone Europeans and US users included, and maybe that gives us a clue about the way Land pricing was handled etc.

    Now having said my bit, I will make it clear as far as I am concerned not trying to make money in SL, I like the fact Land is cheap at the minute, and regarding pricing I feel that at $195 + VAT sim rental is very expensive and a considered luxury for me.

    But VAT is supposed to be charged on luxuries, idulging myself in SL is just that a luxury, not necessary.
    BTW havent got a clue about taxation laws.

  76. Esther Merryman says:

    BTW a forum on something like Adfarming would be much better, lots of us indulging in this expensive luxury.

    Would love to have our say on that particular issue, that is currently blighting the mainland.
    Where a few users are currently getting away with extorting even more cash from us than even the taxman!

  77. Maelstrom Janus says:

    While I agree with Esther on the unsightly nature of adfarming ban lines are a far worse blight and detrimental to those users who dont want to smash into a ludicrous red wall of words while they come to explore sl. There are other ways of keeping people out. Ban lines are an unsightly hazard, useless and inefficient and I’m convinced that they impact negatively on SLs efficiency… I wonder how many people who complain about adfarms ‘protect’ (and I use the term loosely) their properties with these ridiculous eyesores.

  78. Yavapai Villota says:

    Ok, the discussion at the forum was ending with no result. Europeans still have to pay the higher fees because of VAT. So, I also agree with Esther and others, because there should be fast and strict solutions for big problems like ad-farms, banlines, bot-farms, etc. People wich paying much for mainland-parts or whole mainland regions, should not have to be tortured by adfarms, while paying up to 235 dollars (VAT included) monthly for a whole region and logical and even any owner of smaller lots should have the right for a nice, comfy living on mainland sims. We have no ad-farms, banlines, bots in real life and we need such things not in the real-life-attachment wich is called second-life, while paying much money, while surrounded by that trash. I think this is easy to understand for the lab-managers, that these are the real themes wich needing a discussion and a solution in one. And fast, as said, cause every day without a solution, is a lost day, a bad experience and lost money, because of the less impression-quality on mainland, while a mainand-sim-owner pays nearly as much as an island owner, seen from a european wallet view… Mainland can be a good place for people wich like a more urban atmosphere, more socialized than a “autistic” island and for that it is high time to eliminate ad-fams, bot-farms and senseless banlines.

  79. Maxine kohime says:

    Fact is, that there are ways to avoid VAT and that VAT makes busniess in SL for europeans much harder or impossible…

    The discussion was a good idea, but now we have to wait wether LL will answer or not…If not, then the whole thing was good for nothing…

    So, lets see…

  80. Nibb Tardis says:

    This isn’t the place to re-enact the debate, but as a summary, there were 2 main suggestions:
    – Allow tier payment in L$
    – Setup regional price offerings like other companies do

    Most of the other comments were just silly like “if you don’t like it, take it up with your government” or “move to another country”.

    Now it would be nice to hear what LL plans to do with those suggestions. If the response is just “thanks for the input, now for let’s have another debate”, then it was useless.

  81. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Banlines! Most of the parcels in our sim that have banlines around… the banlines don’t do anything useful because almost all the building is in a skybox!

    Here’s my proposal to take care of ground-level banlines: http://jira.secondlife.com/browse/SVC-2390 :

    “In the parcel access control tab, add a checkbox “[ ] skybox zone”.

    “If this is checked, then instead of having the access controls on the parcel applied from ground to ground + 40 meters, instead they apply to a region 768 meters below the building ceiling. The resident can put their private area in this skybox zone, with enough room (a vertical range as high as the original building limit!) to avoid being too near to their neighbor’s skyboxes.”

  82. Esther Merryman says:

    I set up a web page for new users called http://www.developsl.com it is still under construction at the moment, but one idea i had was to sell my excess tier for L$.

    The original idea was to save people money who were just about to jump up a tier bracket.

    Say for instance someone owning 10000sqm or something like that they could set the land to group get the extra 10% tier bonus from LL plus free premium 512sqm allowing them 9574sqm at 8192 tier level then receive the donation of 426sqm for 384L over the month less the 10% tier bonus.
    Instead of paying the next tier level of 75$.

    It occurs to me a number of larger owners in a similar position paying VAT could donate tier to small european owners who set their land to group in a similar way.
    Surely this would mean VAT was payed on the large sum 195$ but not on the cumulative smaller sums of 9$ which would mean 512sqm plot owners would pay 461L$ tier for one month and the larger tier owner would make enough profit to just cover the VAT on their tier.

    Would this be a way to self help each other out of the VAT predicament and as a european already paying VAT would be entirely legal wouldnt it?

    I think for it to be successfull it would need to be managed by a responsible group of individuals.

  83. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Esther@82: there are already people who buy and resell surplus tier. I rented some surplus tier out to one of them a while back. I don’t remember who it was now, but they had an ad at the Waterhead Telehub. I’m sure some searching/googling would pull some candidates up…

  84. Taff Nouvelle says:

    Well that was a complete waste of time, the “discussion” consisted of europeans asking why they were paying 25% more, Americans saying hard luck, and Lindens saying, we just dont care.
    It has worked wonders for international relations, something the americans are SO good at.

    Thanks SO much LL for once again putting a HUGE spin on. ALL spin NO substance whatsoever. All promi8ses and not one answer that was not merely repearing what was said when VAT was first stolen.
    And I DO mean stolen, the price marked at the checkout is the price the customer pays in europe, THAT IS THE LAW.
    IF YOU ARE GOING TO OBEY THE LAW AND PAY VAT, OBEY THE WHOLE LAW.
    Europeans have been charged an ILLEGAL amount since supposed VAT was added.

    Well it has worked for me, I have finally given up, SL is an American game, that is all it ever will be, I will sell all my islands for what I can get for them. What a complete waste of 2 years.

    posted at 1:48, I expect it to be removed by 1:50.

  85. Craig Solzhenitsyn says:

    I’ve read some (not all – sorry if covered) but i see a lot of things missing..

    People saying ‘EU gets paid more!’ – true, we also pay more for everything, current average take home pay in the UK – cost of living (food + house + energy – just the basics) in the UK takes up 91% of that wage, thats 9% left over to cover all extras (clothing, games, that chocolate bar you like, etc).

    Lets put it another way, i take home Β£140 a week after tax, that has to pay electric, gas, travel (car/bus), food, rent, tv, internet and anything else id like to do, currently im spending around Β£110 to cover all the above, and thats sharing a house with my brother who pays his way and helps with bills.

    If i want to go out, buy a game, or do anything else (save up for holiday etc?) its got to come out of that Β£30, that also includes any social events (birthdays, weddings etc), medicene (while health care is free, medicene is still Β£5 odd).

    The average CD costs around Β£10, a DVD Β£15, a computer game Β£40.

    The average wage is more, the average cost is also more – a lot more the offset.

    Add the fact that VAT for items bought over the internet from other country’s was put to parliment but DID NOT PASS into law makes this worse, its not necessary to add VAT to an electronically bought item that is transfered in an Electric form (this also covers mp3s etc).

    Like most euros who have posted above, i owned land (did have an island), but was forced to sell as i couldn’t with americans, Pity, it was just getting TV time here aswell when implimented (and that turned sour fast).

  86. Renee Faulds says:

    Next forum topic: Database and Service Stability

    After that we can discuss the month’s old promise that comments would be opened on the SL Grid Status Reports blog.

  87. Maelstrom Janus says:

    @81 NO NO NO this is even worse than the current arrangement….its already difficult enough flying aircraft without banlines at higher levels too…try flying a vehicle and see what happens when you hit the sim boundary or if you hit a full parcel. A disaster if you enjoy using the many superb aircraft and space vehicles sls craftsmen have to offer !

    Let people operate bans on those they dont want in their parcels but otherwise with the right settings on land ban lines are superfluous to anyones requirements.

    Off topic am I ? well its a redundant topic anyway. Instead of raking up dead material lindens should be looking at improving customer service and offering something not only to compensate for the hiccups and problems frequently experienced but also to reward loyalty of customers.

  88. Maelstrom Janus says:

    Personally if youre going to have a forum where the lindens representatives chip, I think it should be one where sl users can put forward their own ideas and suggestions and actually find out if theyre feasible – or even possibly already in development – direct from the horses mouth.

    Lindens have already made it clear that vat is a fait accompli so like many others I cant see the point of dredging it up again.

  89. Maelstrom Janus says:

    Blame the fact that I cant do any more than hover round in sl looking like a lovelorn cloud of vapour from an episode of the original ‘star trek’ on my current verbosity…. πŸ˜€

  90. Taff Nouvelle says:

    Debate
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    For discussion in Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Talk page.
    “discussion” redirects here. For the other article, see Discourse.

    Debate (American English) or debating (British English) is a formal method of interactive and position representational argument.

  91. Sandor Balczo says:

    Taff, what goes around, comes around. I am certain one day LL will pay dearly for their current behavior.

    Sandor πŸ™‚

  92. Curtis Dresler says:

    Those that insist that ‘games’ are exempt and all LL has to do is read the relevant acts more carefully are blowing smoke. Games are specifically included in the list of charged items and it specifically mentions in the guidelines that it is the location of the customer, not the location of the server, that determines the implementation of VAT (otherwise, the location specific implementation makes no sense).

    And ‘theft’ is a reach when all LL gets out of it is the extra paperwork to remit the taxes to the proper jurisdiction, with the knowledge if it is in business when the further implementations become mandatory, it will become more onerous still. They aren’t keeping the money for themselves.

    Using the logic here, I should have punched out the clerk at the store when the extra 1% in sales tax became effective. Afterall, when did she ever tell me that she was going to charge the extra penny? Damn her soul, least she could do is discount the product…

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