I live in Arizona, USA. I was thinking about buying one or two $20 Battle.net gift cards to buy the Karazhan adventure and some card packs. But, having searched all over the internet, it seems that because of the state I live in, I have to pay tax on in-game items such as card packs and adventures. Is this true? If I buy two $20 gift cards will I be able to buy $40 worth of adventures and packs or will I only be able to buy around $35-37 worth of items because of tax?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not really about a game, more so about economics. – Kaizerwolf Oct 6 '16 at 14:12
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    I'll assume you have to pay tax on your $20 gift cards when you purchase them. So they'll actually cost you like $22 each. The Blizzard tax policy should only apply to purchases made by paying through the client, such as with a credit card. To be sure, though, you should contact your Department of Revenue and/or Blizzard customer support prior to purchasing anything. – scenia Oct 6 '16 at 14:29
  • @Kaizerwolf is it possible to vote to move it to another SE site? Perhaps money.stackexchange.com ? – Doktor J Oct 6 '16 at 17:39
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    @scenia You do not pay taxes on gift cards in the US. – Joe Oct 6 '16 at 20:01
  • @Joe Doesn't that kind of circumvent taxes, then? Couldn't you simply buy gift cards and buy whatever you want with those? – scenia Oct 7 '16 at 7:42

Blizzard specifies that taxes are applicable to your state (Arizona) as well as 14 other sates of America.

For questions or concerns about these taxes or your specific tax rate, contact your state’s Department of Revenue.

Also, if you buy 2 x $20 gift cards, you will be able to buy $40 worth in-game content no matter what happens.

  • According to that help article Hearthstone is not listed as a relevant game. Also, I live in michigan (another taxable state) and while I don't play hearthstone, I have bought Overwatch boxes (also not listed as a relevant game) for $20 and no tax. – VanBuzzKill Oct 6 '16 at 17:33
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    This answer doesn't clearly answer the second part of the question. While it does technically answer it, it'd be better if you clarified that the tax would be assessed at the time of purchase of the cards (so OP would pay $42.26 based on 5.6% AZ state sales tax) -- which explains how tax is paid while still being able to buy $40 worth of in-game content. – Doktor J Oct 6 '16 at 17:35
  • @VanBuzzKill where did you buy the Overwatch boxes? If you bought them from an online retailer that doesn't have a presence in MI, that retailer would not assess sales tax; however you technically would still be responsible for it (there is likely a "sales and use tax" line on your state tax form, if you file yearly taxes) – Doktor J Oct 6 '16 at 17:36
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    This answer is incorrect (unless something has changed recently). I got a $20 Battle.net gift card but I wasn't able to buy the $20 set of packs from the in-game store because of taxes. After buying the $10 set, I was left with $9.19 on my account. I live in Texas (online purchases are taxed). – Chase Sandmann Oct 6 '16 at 20:53

Legally, you are not buying ingame items. You are buying the cards.

The purchase happens when you pay with real, US money to buy some "blizzard money". Blizzard is not a bank and those "blizzard money" are not real money. As far as law is concerned, they are goods. Let's call them "points" here to avoid confusion. They're not dollars, real dollars work everywhere, points don't. Once you've bought the points (by purchasing cards or online with a credit card), the US dollars changed hands, and it THIS transaction that's taxed. Neither Uncle Sam nor Blizzard care if you ever exchange those points into actual ingame items. They are happy because they've already got your real dollars and they're not giving them back without a fight.

So, when you buy $20 worth of points on Blizzard website, you'll pay $21.12 and when you buy a $20 card at convenience store, you'll pay $21.12 at the register.

When buying cards you need to keep in mind that Blizz sells them in bulk for lower price than $20, so the store can sell them for $20 and still make some profit. There are vendors who accept smaller profit and sell them below their face value. So it is possible that a particular vendor actually sells them for $18.93 which after tax will give exactly $20.

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    I don't know if this is really true, or at least, if it's really a complete explanation. "Gift cards" or gift certificates to, whatever, Applebee's say, are purchased tax-free, and then sales tax is applicable when they're used, even though they're functionally not really that different. You're giving them money and they create a sort of account for you with that money comparable to a bank, or a credit card, and then they let you spend that money through use of the linked card. It's possible "blizzard bucks" work differently, but I doubt it. – Joe Oct 6 '16 at 19:53
  • See Nerdwallet for example. – Joe Oct 6 '16 at 19:55
  • Yeah this isn't how it usually works. Gift cards are sold at face value ($20 for a $20 card) and the cost of the item plus tax is taken off the card when you make a purchase (if the purchase is taxable). Some retail stores do it wrong, but you generally shouldn't be charged tax on the card purchase, only for what you buy with the card (again, if tax applies at that time). – Zach Lipton Oct 6 '16 at 23:55

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