Legal Basics for Time Banks, Barter Exchanges, and Complementary Currencies

SELC recently produced three videos on essential legal issues for starting and running time banks, barter exchanges, and complementary currency projects. Check out the videos below, and browse CommunityCurrenciesLaw for more information on all the issues covered in the videos.

Legal Basics for Time Banks and Barter Exchanges

Topics in the above video include:

  • How can a time bank organization gain tax exemption under 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4)?

  • What are promising governance structures for time banks?

  • What are the tax reporting requirements for barter exchanges, and what must a time bank do to avoid application of these laws?

  • When do time bank and barter transactions result in taxable income to participants?

  • How should individuals account for and report taxable income from barter and time banks?

  • Under what circumstances can time banks allow for the exchange of goods?

  • How might we advocate for laws that support the growth of barter exchanges and time banks?

Legal Basics for Complementary Currencies (part 1)

Topics covered include:

  • Laws prohibiting complementary currencies
  • Laws limiting the form of currencies
  • Currencies and the US Constitution
  • Paying employees with complementary currencies
  • Tax

Legal Basics for Complementary Currencies (part 2)

Topics covered include:

  • Bank Secrecy Act
  • State money transmission regulations
  • Securities laws
  • Dodd Frank rules related to Unfair Deceptive Abusive Acts and Practices
  • Regulation E – Electronic Funds Transfers
  • Gramm Leach Bliley Act (information security)
  • Regulation Z – Truth in Lending Act
  • Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Abandoned Property and Escheatment Laws
  • Policy recommendations!

Chris Tittle

A recent transplant to Oakland, Chris is passionate about exploring life-sustaining alternatives to the neo-liberal market paradigm. In his role as Director of Organizational Resilience, he is working to build SELC’s internal resilience, diversify SELC's sources of support, and bring principles of social and economic justice into SELC’s funding strategy. Among his many other roles, he contributes to SELC’s Community Currencies, Resilient Communities Legal Cafe, and Rethinking Home programs, working to cultivate more democratic and place-based models for building community resilience. Chris recently completed an MA in Economics for Transition at Schumacher College, an international whole-person learning center near Totnes, UK. While in the UK, he was active in Occupy London’s Energy, Equity and Environment working group, and helped guide a community exploration of Totnes’ monetary ecology with Transition Town Totnes. His dissertation explored permaculture and a Rights of Nature framework as more culturally-appropriate and generative responses to climate change adaptation in the Global South. Chris has previously worked as an ecological educator, outdoor guide, and environmental journalist, earning his BA in Non-Western History and Poverty Studies from Washington and Lee University. His writing can be found on,, and his blog at

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