Time Banks, LETS, and Barter

Legal Basics for Time Banks and Barter Exchanges

Legal Basics for Time Banks and Barter Exchanges (above video) covers essential legal issues, including:

  • How can a time bank organization gain tax exemption under 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4)?
  • What are promising governance structures for time banks?
  • What are the tax reporting requirements for barter exchanges, and what must a time bank do to avoid application of these laws?
  • When do time bank and barter transactions result in taxable income to participants?
  • How should individuals account for and report taxable income from barter and time banks?
  • Under what circumstances can time banks allow for the exchange of goods?
  • How might we advocate for laws that support the growth of barter exchanges and time banks?

Further Resources on Barter, Time Based Currencies, and LETS

  1. hOur World Directory of Time Banks
  2. Tax exemption for Time Banks
  3. How to Share Time by Mira Luna, Shareable
  4. Time Banking: An Idea Whose Time Has Come? by Edgar Cahn
  5. Barcelona’s barter markets: an antidote to overconsumption (video)
  6. Reciprocal Exchange Networks: Implications for Macroeconomic Stability by James Stodder
  7. 60 Years of the Swiss WIR Economic Circle Cooperative
  8. LETSystem Design Manual
  9. Open Money
  10. Comunitats Time based currency
  11. Time Bank Federal Tax Issues, by Jean-Pierre Swennen, April 2012, written as part of a class project of the Leadership Institute Ecology and the Economy. It is based exclusively on free publicly available research resources, and is intended to be a lay survey of the U.S. federal tax issues relating to Time Banking. It is not to be used as legal advice, and any Time Bank affected by these issues should confer with legal counsel to obtain current and qualified legal advice on these questions.
  12. There are many more resources that could be added here.

Topics to Address in the Futurework in progress

  • How are timebanks usually governed and administered?
  • Sample policies from time banks
  • Do any timebanks do identity verification or conduct background checks?