Thursday, January 3, 2013

What is "money"?

It's a question I ask every intro tax class, and so I am always on the lookout for stories like this one, about a small city in Greece developing an alternative currency. The headline has it wrong--this is not bartering, rather it is substituting one exchange medium (Euro) for another (tem); either currency could fail, both are subject to inflation, etc. Also I don't get the impression that these are desperate people bargaining over staples, even though the headline calls them "impoverished"--but I could be wrong. Whether intended or not, the use of alternative currency is likely a tax dodge since no one is presumably collecting VAT in Euros on a sale in tem. So it is surprising that the mayor is encouraging this.

1 comment:

  1. Someday I will look have to through the Canadian GST/HST documentation to see how Canadian Tire Money is treated.

    I like wikipedia comment below:

    In late 2004 in Moncton, New Brunswick, several customers at a Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce ATM were dispensed a total of 11 bills of Canadian Tire money instead of real bills. They were compensated by the bank.