The IRS won't ask you to report 'Fortnite' V-Bucks on tax returns

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
Chesnot/Getty Images

Don't worry, you won't have to factor in-game currency into your taxes... at least, not yet. The IRS has removed a guideline (cached here) from October that treated Fortnite's V-Bucks, Roblox's Robux and other in-game currencies with real monetary value as "convertible" currency that could be subject to federal taxes. In a follow-up, IRS Chief Counsel Michael Desmond confirmed to CNN Business that including in-game money was an error. The updated section now focuses on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, so you can likely rest easy if you received a V-Bucks gift card last year.

The tax forms won't clarify matters, though. Schedule 1 in Form 1040 asks taxpayers if they have "any financial interest in any virtual currency" without a definition or an indication of what to do next. While many will check with the IRS for a clarification or simply assume the tax bureau is referring to crypto, this could lead to confusion for gamers who aren't sure if their in-game cash needs to be declared.

The ambiguity has prompted calls for the IRS to explicitly outline its approach to in-game currency, and it might need to take action relatively soon given the sheer volume of transactions in games. Fortnite alone racked up an estimated $1.8 billion in worldwide revenue in 2019 from people buying season passes and cosmetic gear. While only a fraction of in-game currency use is likely to be of any concern to the US government, the numbers might grow too large for officials to ignore.