Bartering – the Oldest Form of Trade is Still With Us, Part II

If a business makes payments of bartered services to another business (except a corporation) of $600 or more in the course of the year, these payments are reported on Form 1099-MISC. For example, an attorney represents a painter for nonpayment of business debts in exchange for painting the attorney’s law offices. The amount reportable by each on Form 1099-MISC is the fair market value of his or her own services performed. However, if the attorney represents the painter in a divorce proceeding, then there are two types of expenses involved in this transaction, painting the office is a business expense for the attorney but the divorce expenses are personal expenses for the painter.

The requirement to report barter payments only applies to payments made in the course of a trade or business, Therefore, the attorney must report on Form 1099-MISC the value of the painting services because painting the law office is an activity that is related to the attorney’s trade or business. But the painter need not send a Form 1099-MISC to the attorney reporting the value of painting the law offices, because the work is in exchange for divorce legal services that are personal expenses and separate from the painter’s business. See Form 1099-MISC Instructions for more information. Generally, you report this type of business income on Form 1040, Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business (PDF), or other business returns such as Form 1065 for Partnerships (PDF), Form 1120 for Corporations (PDF), or Form 1120-S for Small Business Corporations (PDF). Nevertheless, even if no Forms 1099-B or 1099-MISC are filed, bartering is generally taxable to the extent of the fair market value of the products or services bartered under Internal Revenue Code Section 61. In the case of the example above, the painter would still have a taxable transaction in the bartering of painting for legal work by the attorney on the divorce proceedings even though no Form 1099-MISC is required to be filed by the attorney. Please refer to Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, and Internal Revenue Code Section 61 for more information.

There is nothing new under the sun. Today, the concept of barter is back in a big way. On the internet, online bartering companies provide a trading environment for businesses and individuals. There is www.web and, as well as sophisticated trading sites like, and – just a few examples out of many. You can trade services for products, or services for services, and so on.

Tune in next week for Part III.