Keep in mind that all of the information below assumes:
- The barter occurs outside a black market and by agents who wish to comply with the law. Black markets are a different issue.
- You are fully aware that I am not a tax professional, so although I've tried to provide sources where possible, speak to someone who knows the laws of your respective country if this question is anything more than a curiosity.
That being said, here are some examples of national tax laws relating to barter transactions. Obviously this isn't an exhaustive list, but based on my grossly non-representative sample, I think it's fairly safe to assume that barter transactions are more likely taxable than not.
You're referring to a barter system; in the United States, the IRS is very specific about this (see the section titled Bartering).
Bartering is an exchange of property or services. The fair market
value of goods and services exchanged is fully taxable and must be
included on Form 1040 in the income of both parties.
The IRS also provides more details:
Bartering occurs when you exchange goods or services without
exchanging money. An example of bartering is a plumber doing repair
work for a dentist in exchange for dental services. You must include
in gross income in the year of receipt the fair market value of goods
and services received in exchange for goods or services you provide or
may provide under the bartering arrangement.
Generally, you report this income on Form 1040, Schedule C (PDF),
Profit or Loss from Business or Form 1040, Schedule C-EZ (PDF), Net
Profit from Business. If you failed to report this income, correct
your return by filing a Form 1040X (PDF). Refer to Topic 308 for
amended return information.
So yes, the net value of bartered goods or services is most likely taxable.
According to the Australian Tax Office:
Barter transactions are assessable and deductible for income tax
purposes to the same extent as other cash or credit transactions.
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs states that:
If you supply services or goods (new or second-hand) and receive other
goods or services in payment, there are two separate supplies:
- the supply from you to your customer
- the supply from your customer to you
You must account for VAT, and so must your customer if they're
VAT-registered. The VAT treatment is the same as for part-exchanges.
You must both account for VAT on the amounts you would each have paid
for the goods or services if there had been no barter and they had
been paid for with money.
Searching the website of the Federal Tax Service for the Russian/Cryllic word for barter (
бартер) doesn't yield any results, but that might be because even between Google Translate and the rest of the internet, I don't speak Russian. That being said, I did manage to find this (translated from the first full paragraph of the Russian, beginning with "Налог на доходы...":
The tax on personal income is paid by citizens of the Russian
Federation with all types of income received by them in the calendar
year, either in cash or in kind.
Since bartering would probably qualify as an in kind transaction, it would likely be taxable.
The South African Revenue Service includes barter transactions in the supply of goods taxed under the VAT.
The term “supply” is defined very broadly and includes all forms of
supply and any derivative of the term, irrespective of where the
supply is effected. The term includes performance in terms of a sale,
rental agreement, instalment credit agreement or barter transaction.
Look for section 3.6, Supply and Taxable Supply, found on p17 of the current version of the linked document.