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Nothing is Sure but Death and Taxes

I think it is a bit of a problems how easy it is to lose sight of the game for the playing of it. Bringing those two back into sync is important. I was commenting that I believe that lore reasoning needs to become common when things are added into the game. Someone was commenting about when will the Sansha incursion end and I started making up random reasons and tinfoil about Sansha's secret plots to justify the open ended aspect of incursions. It was all in good fun but it was also part of a larger discussion about topics.

And that led me to question how much sight we lose of the video game part of Eve. The answer, I believe, is a lot. We have well known players who never log in because they don't have to log in to play. While it is a very unique aspect of Eve as it scales into other things it becomes unpleasant.

On, Sunday I proposed a question about mining taxes. I started this because someone brought it forward to me as a very desperate problem. Right now, a corporation can tax bounties. If a corporation owns POCO (also known as COCO (corporation owned customs offices) by Rhavas) they can set a tax rate for use. Null sec stations can set tax rates for all sorts of things that I am somewhat fuzzy about. Beyond a handful of things a players income in Eve is his own.

It has been brought up in some Faction Warfare circles that they should be able to tax loyalty point gains because loyalty points are the foundation for their income. Mission runners, who are taxed on the NPC bounties they receive also receive loyalty points but at a much smaller rate. Beyond that, they receive mission rewards which are not taxed. However, one can say, comfortably, that a Mission Runner pays their taxes to their corporation.

A person that market trades or runs a market pays NPC taxes. They do not pay corporate taxes.

A miner pays taxes to refine ore. They pay taxes to the market when they sell ore or minerals. They do not pay corporate taxes on those things.

The list continues. Exploroers do not pay taxes. Yet, an expansion of exploration is wormholes. Wormholes do not pay taxer but the very nature of their environment forces group play where they split their rewards. This concept ripples out to miners where corporations will buy the ore from the miners directly for a set rate. The entire custom of renting is completely player driven and not supported by game mechanics but is one corporation paying money to an alliance that they rent for and the only thing making this money pass hands is social engineering.

It is undeniable that we need ISK to play Eve. But how much does a corporation need to play?

A corporation outside of null sec had few actual needs. Office rent is one that many will have to come to terms with.  Quickly the need list starts to ramp up and expand. Most often I am confronted with ship replacement programs as a reason for corporate level income.

But do corporations need ship replacement programs? Accept that I am not discussing full sov war. I mean, for any corp to succeed no matter its size is a ship replacement program needed?

Need does not mean it would be nice. Many things would be nice but fewer are needed. I, do not need ship replacement programs. I would not consider it in my reasons to join a corporation. I may also be very odd. Because of this, I have a hard time accepting one of the most common reasons people wish to tax their membership must be hard coded into the game.

I worry for the newer player more than any other. It may just be a result of my own first corporation. Taxes do allow a more casual and less dedicated corporate environment. The eternal quest to smooth player combat for the greater goal has proven that ship replacement programs work. And that may mean that they alone make it worth while to have easier ways to tax more things. Corporations would indeed become wealthier but would their membership?

Sadly, for to many money corrupts and so does ISK.

Comments

  1. I don't think that corps "need" to be able to tax mining. However, I think it would be a nice thing. The point is to add tools to the set which we have for (ugh) "creating content". It's not something that I would want to use, probably. But it is something that someone would be able to use. Kind of like adding a new faction ship.

    That said, I do expect that CCP would find some sort of awful, sideways, unintuitive way to implement it. ("Teams"!?) As such, your presence is necessary.

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    1. Well when it comes, I hope to have it nice, neat, simply set options. Taxing mining is complex. I came up with the idea of the compression array taxing based off of something... volume? Preset for each ore type? Removing a % of the ore to a corporation container?

      Delete
  2. Entry level players earning small bounties do not pay tax, as there is a minimum threshold hardwired into the game. Perhaps, along with the variable corp tax rate, a corp-variable minimum value before the tax kicks in.

    Corporations with ISK can help players get started or provide capital for new players to seek out their own way to play the game. Industrial startup ISK, SRP to encourage players to take part in riskier group activities (roams, wars).

    A player corp should be more than just a chat room. It needs to provide benefit to its members, and the only fuel for that engine is ISK.

    We tax the expenditure of players (HST in Canada, state sales taxes in the US, VAT in EU) which has the benefit of not caring where your income came from (illicit or legal) but the more you spend, the more tax you pay. Its very egalitarian (the more you can afford to spend, the more you can afford to be taxed). However, make the rate to high, and everyone will attempt to circumvent the tax, despite the value it provides.

    The current method of taxing income is intended to be impossible to avoid, but it does not cover all income generating methods.

    I propose that an optional additionalr corp taxes be levied at the time of expenditure, not income. Yes, I am aware that trading ISK to your alt in its zero tax player corp and then trading the ship back is a way around this tax.

    Hell, you can always be nasty and force a corp tax on player trading, but that'd be a bit extreme.

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    1. Well the minimum threshold is 100k. It protects the very, very new.

      I also agree a corp should provide benefit. However, automatic broad range taxing allows a corporation to accumulate very easily while they have to work to output the benefit. Currently, they have to put some effort into accumulation as well.

      Explain what you mean by the time of expenditure? Do you mean I buy a Jaguar 7-2 taxes me a million ISK?

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  3. We cheat death everyday in New Eden, hell we use it as a method of transportation... but no one cheat teh Taxman. =]

    That said, I have always wondered how CCP came up with such a skewed tax system. I'm pretty sure they did not foresee LP and Ores having the impacts they ended up having... emergent behavior wins again.

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    1. We cheat it. We don't avoid it. :) We still die in one way and we did die to even become what we are.

      :P

      The tax system is simply old and Eve has grown and the corporate interface now needs to be replaced more than fixed.

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  4. Only in Eve do we talk about tax policies! That said, i think more options would be good. I have one character in a WH corp. I would not mind seeing a monthly membership tax option added. It would allow easier dues collection for POS fuel. Likewise module based taxes on ore or compression might be nice options. Having more tools gives leadership easier ways to make sure the process of fueling assets that drive activity is fine. Eve players can figure out on their own if the cost of other people's time is worth and stay or leave accordingly.

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    1. I know! It is a great game where you are like, "Yeah I was reading this blog post about corporation taxes and the various income streams to player productivity and...."

      If we had a membership tax would not that only enhance reasons for the semi-socials to go solo? (also stealth buff to solo players)

      And are we employees or members?

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    2. A membership tax? So you have to pay an in-game subscription with ISK in addition to a game subscription. How meta!

      Can you imagine how many casual people will leave their corps for a solo corp in order to avoid the tax? And how would that affect new player corps like E-Uni, Brave, etc? Unless, of course, the corp has the option to set the tax to 0.

      Delete
  5. In my corperation our TAX RATE IS 0 % we are not weathy I've seen the books! We do not have a ship reimbersement program, insead we have PVP Incentive Program (PVPIP) rewarding all of our the active players. There are stipulations and fair rules that have been voted on. In our history we find that ship reimbersement will allow you to throw ships at your enemy, but you have to teach value and tactics of said ships.
    The Corperation / Alliance structure revamp is coming but i shouldn't have to tell you that! :-)

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    1. Ship RIMB is very interesting to me. I don't have it. I don't need it. I don't actually want it. My ships are mine and I feel that gives me a lot of control with them. Someone giving me ships leaves me feeling I have a debt to them. I don't like feeling indebted.

      Delete
  6. What was "outaidenod" supposed to be?

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    1. That was 'outside of'. I was editing on my phone at the end and it can allow amazing mistakes to just stay.

      Delete
  7. If you wanted to put a corp tax on mining I think putting it in at the refining window would be the easiest place. Taxing the collection of the minerals themselves is probably way to complicated and not worth the time to implement.

    I think in the meta of today's eve if a group wants to control a large patch of null-sec some form of SRP is probably necessary if only to out compete the competition.

    Not to mention all the time that F1 players get asked to sit and wait on a titan while not making isk any other way with that character.

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    1. Would it always go to a refining delivery for the corp at random stations?

      Collecting might be a pain.

      Also, the new change may that people start selling compressed ore instead of refined materials.

      Delete
    2. Yes it would be collected in the tower, outpost or station. Collecting probably would be a pain. But really how else are you going to do it?

      Even compressed ore will have to be refined at some point to be used.

      Delete
  8. Our Corp levies taxes primarily to fund our Corp POS and the POS fuel we use. The POS is available to all our members engaging in industry. We also use tax income for our SRP. As a member of a high sec indy Corp, I am firmly in favor of the SRP. It prevents us from docking up or otherwise running from silly war decs. The knowledge that we have an SRP convinces pilots who otherwise would not engage in PvP for Corp to undock and give it a shot. This has had a significant impact on our recent wars, as we've not only won them in overall war score, but we've also used it to strengthen our overall participation rates and willingness to engage in PvP. In other words, our Corp taxes directly fund "Corp-building" activities, which in turn creates a more fun place for our members.

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    1. I understand that SRP motivates players, but SRP that is financed via taxes is a very different thing from a SRP that is financed via moon goo.

      SRP financed by taxes simply means that people pay for their own ships in a round-about way. Adding this level of indirection makes them feel that somehow they aren't paying for the ship, so lets get out there and PvP it up.

      People are weird

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    2. That concept of free ship means throw away is very, very common in the game. It is amusing because people spend so much time talking about how time isn't free but yet SRP is somehow.

      Delete
  9. I would like to point many corporate benefits can be provided at no cost other then RL time;
    Good FC's, Good logistics people (of the hauling kind), Good scanners (yay for more corp bookmarks), Good teachers and mentors, a friendly mature environment, I could go on for a while.

    Just posting this to counter the 'everything a corp can provide costs ISK' argument I'm seeing a bit of in some of the other comments. That simply isn't true. Not saying more tools are bad, jut that, that particular argument is :)

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    1. I might even go so far as to say the most valuable stuff a good corp can offer is the time and effort of its senior members. People need stuff to do and folks to fly with.

      Delete
    2. I agree with both Maxwell and Kel-Paten that some of the most valuable corporate benefits come from the more experienced 'grey-beards' who often tend to run the day to day operations of a corporation.

      I would caution against the line of thinking that these benefits come for free. Often times it comes at the expense of the person giving the advice. When I ran my HS industrial corp (for 1.5 years) I put way too much of myself into it and its members. I like to think that I helped a lot of people and am the reason that several of the friends i do have in game are still playing.

      This did come at a personal cost of time that I could devote to activities that were fun and profitable. As many people have mentioned 'Time is Money' and unfortunately I had to close the doors simple because I had bankrupted myself over the course of this leadership. Now that I have had time to recover and return to financial stability I am considering re-opening the corporation to try and market towards new players. However I am severely discouraged because I see myself going bankrupt again. The option of additional tax infrastructure would be very handy, even if I didn't take advantage of it.

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    3. Corps are the stickiest thing in Eve. People will sometimes quit before leaving.

      Delete
  10. As a wormhole corp our expenses are multiple towers, a multitude of deployables, the subscription to siggy and corp owned capitals (they are necessary for community defense and fighting out numbered while their landlocked nature (low class wormhole) nature makes it unrealistic to expect the membership to buy them.) As income we have the ratting tax and poco tax. It's not really enough but we make do. The existing in game tax structures are poorly suited for collecting money from our membership. Poverty is both a defense and a handicap.

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    1. But would taxes help? The co-op nature of wormholes forces you to work together, share and support, to survive.

      Delete
    2. The money has to come from somewhere. A simple automated once a month membership dues bill might be a way. In the past that is how I funded pos fuel but it was high effort to see who paid and who did not. Effort Spent on that sort of thing is effort not spent actually doing things which generate content. I don't really see how to fix it, but as it is nearly every administrative task is much more difficult for those in wormholes than for people anywhere else. Our homes run out of fuel if not tended to, no other space has that experience. If invaded our members lose every ship or item that they regularly use, also not true of residents anywhere else. When we do pve we have to put nearly as much effort into tirning the drops into isk and splitting them as we do to take the tags themselves. Our leaders have to figure out how to manually collect isk from the members or just disportionately put the burden for paying for it on the pi users. I imagine low sec pirate corps have a similar problem generating cash however their expenses are much less or at least not as vital to be paid for. Mostly tending to all of this is something that leadership must tend to yet it brings no joy to anyone. If I were to wish for a better more engaging eve it would have less annoying tasks and more fun ones. Simply replacing the sleeper blue loot with a bounty that is automatically split and taxed like bounties everywhere else is an easy example of how un-fun content could be replaced with functionally equivalent piles of isk.

      Delete

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