New Fee Payment System and Possible Impact on Citizenship

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Sudane Erato
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New Fee Payment System and Possible Impact on Citizenship

Post by Sudane Erato »

Description of the New Fee Payment System for the CDS, and how it may impact the current discussion regarding citizenship.

The new monthly fee payment system, now being tested in the SLNE sims, is simply a box for each citizen, which during a certain period of the month accepts payments for their fee. After the fee is paid, and during the dormant period of the month, the box simply indicates that no money is due at this time.

Once in place, all citizens will be required to use this payment method. Paypal payments will no longer be accepted, nor will any payments other than for the month to which they apply.

The boxes will be all owned by Rudeen Edo (or whoever is Treasurer). Each is programmed to respond only to the person named on the front. Any other person cannot pay that box. Each is also programmed with the amount that that person owes, in US$. When the person touches the box, during the active period of the month, the box finds the current Linden exchange rate and uses that to calculate what the person owes. It will then accept payment of that exact amount only.

The big advantage of these boxes is that will emit reminder emails and IM's, dependent on the status of the person's payment, and the period of the month. They also provide a single and regular conduit of fee payments into the Treasurer's transactions. This will ease greatly the administrative burden of recording these. It will also make the citizen's life easier, since they will no longer need to cunsult the website for the current rate. The box will be up to date to the minute. :)

For the purposes of administration, i suggest that boxes be set up separately in NFS and in CN, accepting only payments for that sim. They will all be in a central place in their sim. In NFS they will be in the deeds room in the Rathaus. In CN they will be in the tiny Temple of Athena/Minerva, which was traditionally the location of the City Treasury.

Of course, each box accepts payment from an individual. There is no provision for a payment from a "group". This means that group owned land payments must be organized to be paid by individuals.

This may have an impact on our on-going qualification for citizenship. This is not intended to be a proposal for that. I would only suggest that a system might be devised whereby every individual in a group be allocated a certain amount or share of that group's monthly fee. There is no reason to suggest that a group lose its land simply because one citizen does not pay. If one does not, a system might be put in place where, after a certain number of months, that person does lose her/his citizenship, at which point the payments for the group are re-allocated so as to cover the full payment due from their land. The question remains what to do about the missing money, but that question exists whether or not the payment applies to group land.

Sudane.....

Dnate Mars
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Post by Dnate Mars »

The only thing I question is that won't this in the end cost the city more? If fees are paid in USD, and LL collect fees in USD, won't the 3.5% fee for changing from L$ to USD cause more money to be paid to get the same amount of USD? Also, I do understand why this is being done, but wouldn't it be easier for a fixed payment in USD be a lot easier to understand people to budget how much they will need to pay?

Could the auto-emails generated by paypal be parsed to do accounting? Then at the end of the month, you can see exactly who has and hasn't paid?

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Desmond Shang
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Post by Desmond Shang »

This is a very wise move, if "Rudeen Edo" happens to represent a United States taxpayer or taxpaying entity (corporation, LLC, nonprofit, whatever).

All income, paypal or otherwise is subject to taxation here.

Even more complex, the *type* of income matters - if you get income in the form of wages, then medicare and social security taxes apply. If it's an investment, or property, other taxes apply.

So every bit of income must be recorded carefully and reported in aggregate on a tax form... I don't remember the critical number, but somewhere around 600 dollars per quarter is outside of miscellaneous hobby income.

Could have been 600 per year; I forget. And even if it's hobby income it *still* must be reported.

So here's the terrible truth: the 3.5% loss on $L conversion is peanuts, compared to paying taxes on USD income, unless you truly are set up to legitimately expense the sim tier in a business scenario.

I sure wouldn't try expensing sim tier as an individual.

As a side benefit, you might never cash out 'game credits' - or whatever the Rudeen Edo account balance with the Company might be. No income... no tax.

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Sudane Erato
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Post by Sudane Erato »

[quote="Dnate Mars":3cezg33v]The only thing I question is that won't this in the end cost the city more? If fees are paid in USD, and LL collect fees in USD, won't the 3.5% fee for changing from L$ to USD cause more money to be paid to get the same amount of USD? Also, I do understand why this is being done, but wouldn't it be easier for a fixed payment in USD be a lot easier to understand people to budget how much they will need to pay?

Could the auto-emails generated by paypal be parsed to do accounting? Then at the end of the month, you can see exactly who has and hasn't paid?[/quote:3cezg33v]
Dnate, actually the fees collected by Paypal to "receive" funds are more than the 3.5% it cost to xfer L$ to US$. In some cases, for the payments I receive for some of the small parcels, the fee equals the payment, resulting in a net zero for the Treasury.

And, to exchange US$ to L$, there is only the tiny flat fee of US$0.30. So, it is certainly no inconvenience for the payor.

The only real difference is the markup, if any, to cover currency flucuation between the time the citizen pays and the time the tier is paid. Currently the full markup is 10%, which INCLUDES the currency exchange fee (net 6.5% additional). But, using this system, that can be adjusted to what is determined to be appropriate.

(Insert here: Plead once again for a small committee to set and oversee financial policy).

Sudane.....

Dnate Mars
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Post by Dnate Mars »

Ok, i understand, I forgot that paypal charges fees like they do. Keeping it all in L$ may be the easiest route. Would it also mean that each plot of land has a different pay-by date since each sim has tier taken out at different time?

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Sudane Erato
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Post by Sudane Erato »

[quote="Dnate Mars":3p281178]Ok, i understand, I forgot that paypal charges fees like they do. Keeping it all in L$ may be the easiest route. Would it also mean that each plot of land has a different pay-by date since each sim has tier taken out at different time?[/quote:3p281178]
No, it's a super-simple system... a single script replicated in each payment box. People will all have the same dates to pay: the 21st of the month before til the 8th of the month of which the fee applies. The data on a config card in each box is only name of person, name of sim, name of parcel, email address, and amount due in US$.

Sudane.....

Claude Desmoulins
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Post by Claude Desmoulins »

Am I right that this will move the payment deadline up for a lot of people? I understand that you need a few days to get things sorted out with LL each month, but if the tier payment is due to LL on the 21st, do you really need all the $L from citizens by the 8th? When in the month do you make the payment to LL?

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Sudane Erato
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Post by Sudane Erato »

[quote="Claude Desmoulins":27nwtwlf]Am I right that this will move the payment deadline up for a lot of people? I understand that you need a few days to get things sorted out with LL each month, but if the tier payment is due to LL on the 21st, do you really need all the $L from citizens by the 8th? When in the month do you make the payment to LL?[/quote:27nwtwlf]
Claude, the script is one which I commissioned for my other project, and received permission to use in the CDS. The 21st to the 8th is a very typical window in most sims for people to pay their fees.. in general, fee payments are due on the first of the month to which they apply (somewhat like the rent in RL). It seems silly to me to pay the programmer to revise the script with different timings (which would be a lot of work, since all the emails and IM's which the script generates have to be calculated).

The day of the month that we pay tier is actually quite irrelevant, since, as you know, we are mandated to keep two months tier in reserve. In fact, the tier is paid on the 11th for CN and the 21st for NFS. I simply use the 21st as the "target" due date, so as to encourage people to pay within the month that the fee applies to. This plan effectively suggests that people will need to pay by approximately the beginning of the month instead.

Sudane.....

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Nikki
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Post by Nikki »

This sounds like a very good plan to me.

Thank you very much for your work on it Sudane!

:)

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