FAQ

Q: Is the time bank up and running?

A: Yes! You can now join the time bank by applying to become a member. Please note that you should provide the email addresses for two references (or just list one reference if they are already a member of the time bank).

Q: Are all time bank hours worth the same?

A: Check out the core values we hope to imbue on the Timebank brochure. Every hour is worth just that–an hour. However, we would leave it up to the two members involved in any exchange to determine what is fair. Also–by keeping our exchanges in hours, we are sticking with the guidelines set forth by the IRS in order to remain untaxable. See “Are time bank hours subject to income tax?” below.

Q: What are the requirements of membership?

A: This is still up in the air. We may ask for a donation should you want to contribute to time bank administration, website fees, and any other funding requirements. We ask for two references (only one if they are a standing member of the time bank). There will be an orientation required so that members know how to initiate and engage in exchanges, which can be done online. Beyond that, there is a basic requirement that you get what you give. Any hours that are exchanged should be roughly equal in receiving and giving hours.

Q: Do I have to live in Ann Arbor to be in the A2TimeBank?

A: The goals of the time bank are based upon community building. If you are dedicated to being involved in the Ann Arbor community, and are willing to travel to and from Ann Arbor for exchanges, you are welcome to join! We really hope that this project will promote strong communities. Some residents of towns and neighborhoods have expressed interest in starting a cluster within the A2TimeBank to leverage these resources, which is a great idea! A2TimeBank should be an organization that welcomes ideas from its members and grows to support the needs of the community.

Please look to your own community to see if there is a functioning time bank.  Hour Exchange Ypsilanti has been in operation for some time, and you can apply to be a member there. Note that many time banks allow for inter-trading. A2TimeBank allows for intertrading with any time bank that utilizes the HourWorld software.

Q: What software will be used to track hours? Do I have to log hours online?

A: The HourWorld software was recommended by several other time banks, which is a free software that logs hours. We really encourage everyone to use the online software to ensure everyone is getting credit for their hours. If a member wishes to be active in the time bank, and is having trouble using the software, there will be a coordinator available to help with training. (Please note that the coordinator will most likely be a volunteer.)

Q: Are time bank hours subject to income tax?

A: No. The IRS has repeatedly determined that Time Dollars are not taxable as income. If you think about it, almost any time that someone
does something for someone else and no money changes hands, there is no reportable income. For example, you could pay someone to babysit a
child, but if a relative does it without charge then there is no taxable income, whether or not you agree to babysit their child at a future date.

There is a different type of organization called commercial barter clubs, and benefits received through those clubs are considered income by the IRS. But the IRS has distinguished TimeBanks from commercial barter clubs because all hours are given equal valuation, money cannot be used to purchase credits or eliminate a debt, the services offered tend to be similar to one another, and the Time Bank does not charge a commission.

If you want to read more, you can see an article by the founder of TimeBanksUSA, and/or text of IRS rulings on time banks.

Q: What can I do to help?

A: First, drop us a line to let us know you are interested in helping the A2TimeBank get started. Also, make sure to fill out the interest form.

Do you have any other questions? Please leave a reply below!

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