What is barter?

In its simplest form, bartering involves the direct exchange of goods or services for other goods or services without reference to money or money value. How does bartering operate?

There are sophisticated forms of bartering in the market place, both locally and internationally. These arrangements are typically controlled by member-only organisations, with credit units the medium of exchange.

The terms ‘exchange’, ‘barter exchange’, ‘trade exchange’ and ‘countertrade exchange’ are used to describe the organisation that manages the bartering operation. Various terms are used to refer to the medium of exchange, such as units, credits, trade dollars or barter dollars. The most commonly used term is trade dollar.

Trade exchange operations vary in size and sophistication, from community-based to business-based operations.

A trade exchange provides its members with a trading account for the purpose of recording member transactions. The trade exchange credits or debits the account each time a member makes a sale or purchase respectively. The account is also debited for fees the trade exchange charges its members. The trade exchange may buy and sell in its own right, acting as a member with its own trading account.

Source: Australian Taxation Office © 2014