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Member FAQs - Barter & Taxes

Does Revenue Canada provide guidelines pertaining to barter transactions?

Yes, Revenue Canada (IT-490) provides information on tax implication involving barter transactions. You can also consult your accountant for more information.

Do taxes apply to barter transactions?

It depends on the nature and frequency of your transactions.

Do taxes apply to bartering of services for other goods/services?

There are usually two scenarios, though sometimes it is difficult to categorize.

Non-taxable scenario:
In general, according to the Revenue Canada document IT-490 (Barter Transactions), if the person(s) bartering is an employee, and not a business owner, they may normally exchange non-business-related services or goods "occasionally" without being subject to taxation. Providing an occasional favour to a friend or a neighbour, if it is not part of your normal profession, is something you normally would not have done, is on a non-commercial basis, and is not part of your regular habit, would not normally be taxable.

Taxable scenario:
However, if the service(s) are business-related, or the exchange is "a regular habit," it falls under the category of taxable income, regardless of one's employee status. A service or commodity normally provided in the course of earning income and/or being part of one's profession must be included in income. Barter transactions cannot be used to intentionally avoid paying taxes. Please consult a tax accountant to get a professional opinion.

If, for instance, you forge a long term barter relationship with another swapper trading skills and/or services, you would most likely be responsible for reflecting your transaction in your taxes.

Do taxes apply to bartering of goods for other goods/services?

According to Revenue Canada, 'in the case of goods bartered by a taxpayer for either goods or services, the value of those goods must similarly be brought into the taxpayer's income if they are business-related'. Revenue Canada illustrates it with the following example, 'the value of groceries given by a grocer to someone in exchange for something else must be brought into the grocer's income'.

Bartering of goods may also give rise to a capital gain. Revenue Canada discusses capital gains and/or capital loss in barter involving capital property in section 6 IT-490 Barter Transactions

How do I value the transaction?

Please refer to section 7 of IT-490 Barter Transactions for guidelines provided by Revenue Canada.

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