I’m just back from family camp at YMCA Camp Coleman in South Puget Sound. How fun for adults to get to participate in camp alongside their kids! Among other exciting activities, I got to ride in the Northwest’s biggest swing, which requires a harness and swings kids of all ages at a height of 150 feet over a ravine. Quite an exciting experience!
Naturally, this experience got me thinking about bartering. That is, given all the wonderful experiences offered to me and my child by local nonprofits, how can I barter my services for good stuff like summer camp, science education, and so forth? Regrettably, there is no tax advantage to be gained from bartering: both parties are obligated to treat their “sale” through the barter as taxable income. Furthermore, there is IRS paperwork involved (a 1099-B form at year-end), making bartering not nearly as attractive. Still, I want to think more about when it might make sense for me to barter with clients. Solar Washington contacted me recently, and I’d love a solar array on my roof!
If any readers have more experience with barter and when it makes sense, I’d love to hear it. In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to keep laying out cold, hard cash for my vacations, professional development and home improvements.