Thursday, October 29, 2009

Signs of the time

Learning how to trade:
Barter for the Services You Need:

Ms. Tominaro advertised her bartering proposals on Craigslist. Recently, a carpenter she found on the site helped deliver some wood she purchased and will lay her floors down within the next few weeks. In return, he will vacation in the Hunter Mountain house with his family in the winter for a weekend.

Another option is joining a barter trade exchange. The exchange allows members to earn "trade dollars" by performing a service for other members, and then use those dollars for a service or product for themselves.

Some exchanges charge annual membership fees; others charge based on the cash value of each transaction. They also send users monthly statements and record all transactions in the annual 1099-B tax forms.

Whether you're doing a direct trade of products or trading services through a barter exchange, the Internal Revenue Service requires that you treat barter income -- what you receive on your end of the transaction -- as any business activity, so you must report it on your tax return.

You may be subject to income tax, self-employment tax or excise tax depending on the form of bartering and the size of the transaction. Keep records of each transaction and use the 1099-B form to report the activity on your tax return.

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