Uncle Sam Eases Up On Barter

One of the most popular ways that small businesses advertise on the Web just got easier, thanks to a change in Internal Revenue Service regulations. The IRS recently ruled that businesses no longer need to report barter transactions worth less than $1--which covers much of the free and low-cost banner-ad swaps popular among small companies. (The IRS traditionally required reporting of all barter transactions.) The ruling may seem like small change, but it likely signals a more sweeping reform of how the IRS treats all barter deals. That's especially important now that barter is poised to take off on nationwide electronic exchanges, helping increase volume eightfold to $8.5 billion by 2008, according to the International Reciprocal Trade Assoc.

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