Since November 2013, the Lab has been attempting to operate in compliance with US Internal Revenue Service requirements by ensuring those Second Life users meeting “certain transaction thresholds” have filed required IRS documentation with the Lab (whether or not they are US residents).
News of this move first broke via an SL Universe forum thread, and was subsequently followed-up by bloggers such as Ciaran Laval and myself, and by the Lab also blogging on the matter.
As the tax and documentation requirements continued to cause some confusion, clarification was sought from the Lab, and additional documentation was published in February 2014 to further help people understand the requirements and how to comply with them. However, as the year has progressed, there have continued to be occasional issues with people actually getting the required paperwork processed by the Lab, affecting their ability to withdraw funds.
As reported by Ciaran Laval at the start of October, some people have once again recently encountered delays in seeing their submitted documentation processed by the Lab. His post prompted a reply from Pete Linden, providing some insight into why delays are occurring:
Due to a significant volume of payout request in recent weeks, payout requests may take longer to process than expected. We apologize for the delay, and we are working hard on clearing the backlog and process requests as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we advise residents to please address any specific questions through their Support cases. We appreciate the cooperation and patience from all residents, and hope to have payout request processing times back to normal soon.
As Ciaran notes in following-up on Pete’s comment, it’s not clear why there has been a significant volume of payouts recently, although he suggests that it could be tied to the recent changes to the Lab’s Skill Gaming policy, which may have caused an increase in the number of people filing payment information with the Lab in order to engage with skill gaming regions.
Whatever, the reason, the Lab is aware of the situation, and hopefully taking the necessary steps to ensure delays are minimised and, as Ciaran states, “everything will be back on track in the near future and normal.”