It is an article about the IRS and taxing online games such as Ultima Online, EverQuest, and undoubtedly World of Warcraft (although not specifically mentioned in the article).
"The question is when, not if, Congress and IRS start paying attention [...]" -- Dan Miller, senior economist
That is completely asinine! Although people may purchase items in online worlds with real money, it isn't anything more than extensions or add-ons to their game. Let's face it, if the power goes off there is absolutely ZERO value associated with the items purchased. That's why they're called "virtual assets."
Legally, citizens of the United States are already required to pay taxes on any and all income, including from the sale of virtual assets. I think they're seeing it in a similar way as they see taxation on real property (real estate). But, at least originally, property taxes are to pay for services such as emergency services, schools, etc. We don't need to be taxed on virtual assets when they don't provide ANYTHING whatsoever for it, nor are they even claiming a reason except a so called "estimated value."
Let's role-play for a moment. Say, I have a castle and a massive army and weapons, etc. Now, let's say you, the ultimate barbaric druid witch king, comes in and slaughters everyone there and take possession of all of my assets. Cool, good job! Now, you owe real money in estate taxes.
They, the retards who are actually considering virtual asset taxation, haven't even considered what to do if you (the real person behind the ultimate barbaric druid witch king) aren't a US citizen?
What's next? Siege taxation? Employee taxes for your army? Worker's compensation and disability insurance? Where's OSHA to make sure you are providing a "safe" working environment on the battlefield? Where's the EPA ensuring you aren't polluting your virtual environment? It's ridiculous.
This is just another attempt by the greedy bastards in Congress at (especially at) the IRS to collect tax for no reason and further justify the overall expense of the government and (especially the) IRS itself. In my mind, it's equivalent to when the US Postal Service was lobbying to charge a fee for everyone to send emails, EVEN THOUGH they had absolutely nothing to do with any part of it (i.e.: no stamps, not their software, servers, nor pipeline).