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Does the Grand Exchange Tax Help Players Avoid Gold Sinks

All you need to know about gold sinks and the Grand Exchange tax in Old School RuneScape.

December 2022 marks one year since the Grand Exchange tax was introduced in Old School RuneScape to take out some of the OSRS gold. The tax has been at 1 percent, but it still managed to take over 10 trillion OSRS gold from the game, according to the unofficial website dedicated to tracking how much tax players are paying. Jagex launched the crab tax three days after implementing the Grand Exchange tax to track the amount of OSRS GP removed from the game. Close to the 1-year mark, it tracked 11 trillion OSRS gold devs took out from the game through the tax.

Tax-Free Haven No More

The tax applies to items worth more than 100 OSRS gold and is capped at 5 mils. Unlike other MMOs with a tax on their marketplaces, the OSRS’ Grand Exchange tax only applies once on the sold item. This means that there is no tax on unfulfilled sales.

Even though it sounds like the Grand Exchange tax has taken out a lot of OSRS GP from the game, comparing the tax with market taxes from other MMOs will make you realize that the high volume of items traded through the Grand Exchange makes the 1 percentage tax a good gold sink.

In World of Warcraft, the tax for the Auction House varies from 5 to 15 percent depending if the auction house is a faction or neutral. In Albion Online, the tax depends on whether you’re playing on a premium or standard character and ranges from 6 to over 10 percent of the total value.

Until December 2021, Old School RuneScape was a tax-free heaven, especially for flippers. However, the 1 percent tax is so tiny that the inconvenience of finding a potential buyer outside of the Grand Exchange. Combined with the potential of an unsafe transaction that can lead to a potential scam makes the Grand Exchange still the go-to for most of the transactions and doesn’t bother flippers much either.

This is especially true since many flippers start small with high-volume items that cost under 100 GP and are not taxed. On the other hand, low-volume flipping is somewhat affected by the grand exchange tax, and this can go two ways: slightly inflating the prices or making certain high-value items not worth flipping.

You can see the tax amount in the Grand Exchange interface when you set up an item for sale. However, players will only pay the tax once the item gets sold, so you don’t need to worry about it if you change your mind regarding the price you want to sell the item and cancel or modify the offer.

To make it entirely fair for those who want to avoid any grand exchange tax and choose to trade directly with other players, Jagex has modified the trade interface with an opt-out delay trade option. This means that when you are trading with other players, you won’t be able to instantly accept the trade if the other player changes the traded item. This is meant to minimize the risk of scams further because Jagex does understand that the Grand Exchange tax will potentially push some of the transactions off the Grand Exchange and is trying to make it safer for everyone.

Fully Aware of the Situation

Jagex is aware that there are situations in which a fast trade is crucial and that sometimes a few game ticks can make the difference for everyone involved, such as the case of group activities, especially PvM. A great example of this is the last room of the theatre of blood, where you’ll need to take turns using Dawnbringer’s special attack on Verzik Vitur. You will need to disable the delay to trade faster in such cases.

Besides this, there is a list with a few items that are exempt from the Grand Exchange tax because they are items used by new players. Most are tools, such as the rake, hammer, or pestle and mortar.

Final Thoughts

Jagex wants to interfere in keeping the economy of the game healthy, but at the same time, wants to limit their input both quantity-wise and by having a pretty short list of items they’ll take out of the game by paying the seller’s OSRS gold from this virtual coffer. The OSRS tax is a small price you’ll have to pay for the long-term health of the game’s economy. However, the tax paid up to the present moment could cover over 2 million OSRS bonds. This can lead to another discussion about whether Jagex’s sales and sellers with OSRS items for sale also benefit from this tax.

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