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Let's say I have a website that gives information on electric guitars, but sells nothing. All income is generated via ads and affiliate programms. This income is of course subject to income tax.

Now one of those affiliate partners uses partner-points, which is basically in-store credit. If I "buy" a guitar for partner-points, is that guitar subject to income tax, too?

Note that this question is specific to Germany. If it makes any difference, I'm regularly employed, but do this on the side with my own one-man-firm (see comments for german definition).

I'm sure I left out a ton of relevant details, please let me know if you should need more information.

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  • I should mention this in german, as I don't know the appropriate english words: Es handelt sich bei der Sache um eine selbstständige Nebentätigkeit mit angemeldetem Gewerbe. – user34634 Nov 4 '15 at 10:05
  • Sorry I misread the question when writing my answer. Your website gives information on guitars and has an affiliate link to the guitar store, which gives you in-store credit as payment for guitars that are bought through your affiliate link? Did I get that right? – RSmith Nov 5 '15 at 15:19
  • I don't know about Germany, but I'd strongly suspect that your points are taxable, whether you redeem them for a guitar or not. I believe most countries consider income to include anything of value. Otherwise barter creates a huge loophole. – Nate Eldredge Nov 5 '15 at 20:04
  • @RSmith: that's right, yes. – user34634 Nov 6 '15 at 8:30
  • @NateEldredge: We have "geldwerte Vorteile" in Germany, but it's hard to figure out what counts. They mostly seem to be advantages that an employer grants his employees, which shouldn't work for freelance advertising. I should probably just see a professional :( – user34634 Nov 6 '15 at 8:42
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Yes.

This is known as a "Tausch" or "Tauschähnlicher Umsatz".

If you are being paid for your services in partner points, then the mean value (gemeiner Wert) of those partner points and your services is what you would declare - NOT the guitar. How exactly that is to be calculated in your case (and whether the tax office would actually care) I cannot say, but it's definitely what you should look into.

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  • Knowing what it's called is half the battle already, thanks for that. I'll have a look at it. – user34634 Nov 6 '15 at 23:26

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