Would you expect to be Taxed for having Good Neighbors?

May 2, 2013

English: United States Internal Revenue Servic...

One of the many things I have always loved about our beautiful state, is the helpful nature of many of our citizens. I’ve never lived anywhere else, but I’ve traveled plenty. I’ve been through a number of big cities, and I’ve seen how the people interact with each other. I am truly thankful, that I have good reason, to always look forward to getting home.

If you’ve lived in Montana your whole life, as I have, and you haven’t seen what I’m actually talking about for your self, just suffice it to say, I can’t really describe it accurately, but I have one good example, that might help paint the picture just a little bit.

A few years ago, before my 2 younger daughters had arrived, my wife and I took our eldest to Washington for my wife’s eldest sister’s wedding. Right about the time we were getting into the Seattle city limits, our daughter got car sick, and vomited all over herself. Of course I wasn’t going to pull over on the highway, in that kind of traffic, so I waited for an exit with signs that indicated there was a gas station.

We ended up trying 5 different gas stations. We got the same thing from every single one. Yes they do have an employee restroom, but no we can’t use it to clean the vomit off our daughter. You have to realize, my wife wasn’t exactly dressed like a lowlife. We’re clean cut respectable people, but that doesn’t matter. I even offered to pay them for the use of their restroom, but they just wouldn’t allow it.

I can’t remember which one it was, but there was police officer at one of the gas stations we stopped at. The police officer was a very nice lady. She could see that we weren’t from around there, and she recognized that we were decent people. She actually went into the gas station with my wife, who was carrying my vomit covered daughter. I waited in the car for this one, but my wife told me, the police officer got pretty irritated with the attendant. She said something along the lines of, “this lady isn’t going to steal anything, I’m standing right here.” Even that didn’t do any good.

My daughter sat in her own vomit for over an hour, before we found a place that would allow us the use of a sink and a few paper towels. That was the visitor center at the space needle. We expressed our gratitude the 2nd day of our trip, with our patronage.

This wasn’t the only unpleasant part of our visit to this, so called community, but our trip isn’t the purpose of this article. I only have one more thing I want to say about it.

We stopped at the very first gas station we came across, after we crossed the boarder back into Montana. We went for some snacks and what not, and the first thing my wife did, was walk right up to the guy watching the counter, a complete stranger, and gave him a great big hug. He was a little surprised, and asked what that was for. My wife told him we had just spent the past few days in Seattle, and we were very happy to be back in Montana. The guy just said, “say no more, I understand.”

That’s what I’m really getting at here. I know we’re not the only state, that thinks the way we do, but we have a very different idea of the meaning of the word, community. When the sweet old lady down the road mentions her roof is leaking, we don’t ask how much money she’s offering. We show up bright and early Saturday morning, with 5 buddies, our own tools, and a truck load of shingles. That’s just what neighbors do right?

Sure, we might expect a good home cooked meal, or something along those lines for our trouble, but nothing even close to the cost of a professional service.

Well if that’s the case, the IRS says that old lady owes taxes. No kidding! It’s referred to as a barter tax.

In simplest terms, if you receive goods or services of a greater market value than the compensation you provide, you are required to claim the net value as income, and pay taxes accordingly.

This is a federal tax law, but I believe it has particular significance here in Montana, especially if you’re a conservative. Even though there are a lot of laws out there that we don’t like, most conservatives consider it a matter of honor and self respect, to do their best to obey the laws of the land. Well if you’ve ever accepted the generosity of your friends and neighbors, and allowed them to refuse, market appropriate compensation, you committed the offense of tax evasion when you didn’t claim it on your taxes.

Of course I don’t expect you to just take my word for it. This link will take you to a basic overview explanation, and from there, you can explore the details for yourself.


With most of my articles, I try to suggest a course of action. With this one, I suggest being a pain in the rear, by doing exactly what your told. If you engage in a barter transaction, make an effort to make sure there is absolutely no net gain on either side. Do some market research, and document it thoroughly. Make it your goal to increase the volume of paperwork the IRS has to process, as per this tax law, but also make sure, this law can’t be later identified as a worth while source of revenue.

Glenn W. Uncles Jr.

Enhanced by Zemanta



Powered by Facebook Comments

Comments are closed.



Privacy Policy

Like Box

WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera