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International business

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I have a few questions regarding international business and selling games (by digital distribution) across borders.


When you sell a game, what taxes do count? The taxes of the country you are in, the taxes of the country where the server with the website/shop is located or maybe the taxes of the customers country?

For example I know that if you are located in the EU you don't have to pay VAT for customers in other EU countries (only for customers from your own country). However if you are outside the EU and sell stuff to an EU citizen, you would have to add the VAT of the customers country (at least that's what the EU want's, I don't know if any non-EU company actually pays these taxes or if everybody ignores their demands).



Same problem with the age verification. What law does apply, the customers country law (which would mean for a product that's sold worldwide you would have to get dozens of age verifications) or the law of the server where the transaction is done (as above) or the law of the country where the company is registered?


It is pretty expensive to get an age verification in some countries (at least for a small developer) and you are practically forced to do it (by law). However could I just setup my server in a less strict country and avoid the costs of getting an age verification?


Another problem is that you have quite different things that will get censored depending on the country which law applies. E.g. we Germans are crazy about violence or anything related to our not so bright recent history (showing a swastika in a non-documentary is not only a no-go, it's against law in many circumstances). While US Americans and Japanese seem to be afraid of sex, prostitution, alkohol (what's with the bottle in the bag, everybody knows it's supposed to be alkohol, who are you kidding?), drugs and many other fun things. And even other countries will have other stuff that can't be sold (india and kashmir and so on).


Note: registering the hole company in another country would only possible by leaving my country, since in most regards they will assume that it's a local company and tax you like one if the command and control is living here. I'm assuming that in that case they will also apply all the other laws to the company as if it's a local one.


Disclaimer: I'm not planning on releasing wierd stuff and let kids play it. And I believe it's right to protect children from certain stuff.


It's just so expensive. Take a look at the usk page http://www.usk.de/en/extramenue/login/publisher/material/cost-overview/ some of the stuff is to be payed regularily, e.g. per year other stuff is to be payed for each piece of software (imagine episodic content or many small low priced games). And still you would have to make sure that people don't enter your website that are to young. Do you know how expensive it is to get a customers verified age? (Aside from the time it takes to actually get it, which sucks if someone just want's to buyand start playing your game.)



Maybe you have some expirience and can give me a few hints. I know if I do actually start a company I will have to get a lawyer, but until the I would like to collect as much information as possible. Some of the stuff might influence what's in the business plan, so I would like to know a bit more before I write those sections.


Thank you in advance.


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Talk to your lawyer for your location-specific requirements.


In most places the tax law is that you are required to collect it (and transfer it to the government) if you have a physical presence or do significant business in the region.


The region may be a city, state, or country.


For example, in my side business I am required to collect (and pay to the state) taxes for sales within the state.  If the address is outside the state I do not collect (or pay to the state) any money for that sale; it is the responsibility of the buyer to pay it.


As always, talk to your lawyer or tax adviser for the final word.  Payments to the government are something you don't want to miss.


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