Bartering goods and services? You may owe tax!

Sometimes a client cannot pay their bill. When this happens, some business owners will look to the goods or services provided by the client in her business, to see if a trade can be made to satisfy the debt. While most business owners would rather be paid for services rendered, a new copy machine, air conditioner or janitorial services are better than a past due accounts receivable. What many taxpayers forget, however, is that the value for the services exchanged is treated just like a cash payment, for income tax purposes. Consider a scenario where an attorney provides services to a client who owns a luggage store; the amount billed for legal services is $5,000. If the client offers $5,000 in luggage instead, then both the attorney and the luggage store owner must reflect $5,000 in income in the transaction. This is true whenever bartered services are made between businesses (except corporations) of $600 per more, per year. The payments are reported on Form 1099-MISC. For more information, view the IRS' Bartering Tax Center http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Bartering-Tax-Center

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