The LETS system and the CES (Community Exchange System) can seem confusing to new users. However, once you have used it a couple of times and made a couple of trades, you will have a better understanding of how it works and how simple the online system is to use.

Please remember there’s always someone available to help a new user understand the system.

Dealing with TAX

Is CES/LETS a tax dodge?

No. You have to pay tax on Bartle income (excluding hobbies traded). See What about Tax?
I run a business and I accept payment in Bartles.

Why do I have to pay tax in cash for transactions where no cash entered my till? That’s not fair!

The Australian government has ruled that LETS trade is taxable and tax must be paid in dollars. See What about Tax? At the time of the ruling, FNQ Community Exchange trustees argued that tax earned in a local currency should remain in the local community. We proposed a local fund for collecting FNQ Community Exchange tax (in Bartles) that could be spent by a local authority on community services. However, this suggestion was rejected by the government.

Please note

FNQ Community Exchange advises users to comply with tax laws.

Many businesses trading in CES request part payment in cash so they have the $ to cover tax.

Of course, hobbies are not taxable.

What about tax?

Responsibility for any taxes owed is that of the users involved in the exchange. FNQ Community Exchange accepts no obligation or liability to report to taxation authorities nor to collect taxes. CES/LETS is not a tax-avoidance scheme.

The Australian Taxation Office’s current position is essentially that they consider barter or countertrade transactions to be tax assessable and deductible to the same extent as a similar cash transaction. The ATO has declared that 1 CES/LETS unit = $1 for tax purposes. Income from the proceeds of a hobby, pastime, domestic or social arrangement is NOT taxable income.

Businesses are liable to taxation on the PROFITS of any CES/LETS transactions in the same way as for cash transactions. The business is responsible for valuing the transaction in dollars and paying the appropriate tax in AUD$.


How do I join FNQ Community Exchange?

There are a couple of ways to join FNQ Community Exchange.

  1. Download the Application Form and post it to us. (Address is on the form)
  2. Download the form, email it back and transfer the $20 joining fee via internet banking
  3. Go to a Trade Event and join on the day
  4. Ask a friend (who is also in FNQ Community Exchange), to help you join.

Can I sell my Bartles for $, or buy Bartles for $?

Bartles cannot be sold for $ because they cannot leave the system.

There are some instances where you may exchange Bartles for $ though.  If your sister came to visit and wanted to buy a coat at a FNQ Community Exchange trade day, for 20B, she could buy it on your account, and give you $20.

In this example Bartles are not leaving the system, as they only went from your account to the Seller’s account.  The transaction with the $ was between you and your sister, not FNQ Community Exchange.

One way to buy Bartles for $ is to buy something for $, and then re-sell for Bartles.  Some instances where this could happen might be that I buy a 20L drum of olive oil for $200, and then sell 1L bottles from it for 10B (instead of $10), or I might increase the Bartle price to cover my time and expenses of making this product available, the bottles, and so on…

This is just like any business transaction where I buy something in bulk and resell the product to my community at retail, in $ or Bartles.

Similarly, I might buy a pram from a garage sale for $20 while my nephew is visiting, and then resell for 20B on CES when my guests leave.  I have turned $ into Bartles.

It was voted at the January 2013 meeting that it is NOT OKAY to put an Offering on our system of Bartles for $, or a Want of $ for Bartles.

This is a closed system where we try to maintain the value of the Bartle and keep $ out of transactions as much as possible.  Please respect this and consider other ways to make $ or Bartles, whichever you need.

I don’t have anything to offer so what can I trade?

Start by reading other users’ requests — you may be surprised to find that you do have goods and services to offer. Experience has shown that all users have many skills to share; it often turns out to be different ones to those that first come to mind when job-hunting.

The motto “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” holds true in CES.

Do I have to live on the Tablelands to join?

FNQ Community Exchange was formerly known as Tableland LETS and while we are in transition the term Tableland LETS will still be found on our website.

FNQ Community Exchange is currently servicing the whole of Far North Queensland – from Cardwell right up the coast and all across the inland region to Cooktown. A lot of our trades and communications are done via the Internet, which allows us to cover a wide geographical area. Trade Events occur in varying locations across the Far North on a regular basis, allowing people to meet in small, local hubs (or travel to different areas) regularly. Each area has a Local Area Contact person to assist with the running of FNQ Community Exchange.

Do I have to earn some Bartles before I can spend any?

No. Going into debit in CES is different to a debit in the monetary system. For every CES transaction there must be a debit and a credit, so someone has to be willing to have a negative on their account. All Users’ accounts across the system balance to zero, so at any moment the credits equal the debits. It helps to think of “spending” Bartles as creating employment. Practice keeping a “wish list” of goods and services you want and ask for them in CES. Going into debit is making a commitment to stay in the system and find ways to earn Bartles.

What is a Bartle worth in dollars?

Bartles have no fixed $ exchange rate and may vary from one transaction to another. Bartles don’t really have any value outside the Community Exchange systems. However, we suggest that $1 = 1B for a starting point.

Bartles have the same purchasing power as dollars, with a huge variety of goods and services on offer.

Where can I find help please? I am new to the online system and struggling to learn how to use it?

Beginner instructions are found in the Help Files and in Downloads. There is also a ‘Help” button on each page of CES when you are logged in. Look at the far right hand side of the top grey toolbar.

How to Use CES?

Still having trouble? Please don’t hesitate to ask for help from any of the members who have been in the system for a while or contact one of the Admin or Area Contacts. We assure you the online system is easy once you know how.

Using CES

What is the CES?

The short, simple answer is that CES is an online system that allows us to record and track our trades. The CES online directory allows us to advertise the things we are offering to other users and to see what other Users want.

Please read the detailed description below for more

The following has been copied from the CES Australia.

The Community Exchange System (CES) is a community-based exchange system that provides the means for its users to exchange their goods and services, both locally and remotely. It could also be described as a global complementary trading network that operates without money as it is commonly understood.

Unlike the conventional money-based exchange system, the CES has no physical currency. The idea that such a currency is required before any trading can take place is an ancient one and increasingly irrelevant in this day and age of computers and the Internet. Information can replace currencies and at the same time eliminate most of the problems associated with regular money.

There are many similar trading systems around the world, commonly know as Community Exchange Systems, Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS), Mutual Credit trading systems or Time Banks.

Apart from using information instead of currencies to effect exchange, these exchange systems are community-focussed in order to build community and keep wealth where it is created. The CES takes this a step further by providing the means for inter-community trading, right up to the global level.

As the ‘currency’ in the above types of exchange systems is information it does not have to be ‘created’ like conventional money so there is no need for an issuing authority or for a supply of it, and none is required to start trading. ‘Money’ in these systems is a retrospective ‘score-keeping’ that keeps a record of who did what for whom and who sold what to whom. There can never be a shortage of information as there can be of money, as information does not have to be created and limited by a third party (banks or government) in order to give it value. For this reason the concepts of borrowing, lending and interest are meaningless in the CES.

There are many different types of complementary exchange systems (CESs) and they are growing in popularity throughout the world. Some use ‘hard’ currencies, where notes and coins are issued by the group for their own use; others use time as a ‘currency’ rather than notes; and yet others use a ‘virtual currency’ which is the recording of the values of goods and services exchanged.

Complementary exchange systems foster the real wealth of communities and rebuild a sense of worth and self-esteem among their users. Around the world they report an increased sense of vitality in all sectors of the communities using them. While these exchange systems might have a slightly different function for each of these sectors, they certainly have relevance to all.

These systems provide infinite opportunities for exchanging one’s narrow specialisations for the goods and services offered by others. In this way a complementary exchange system acts like a supplementary currency, creating an additional stream of value in a community. By supplementing conventional cash flow with a local exchange system a community can provide an additional source of essential goods and services that become scarce in economic downturns and protect itself from changes and fluctuations in the national money supply.

I help you, and you help another—and someone else helps me. The recipients of help become, in turn, the providers of help. What goes around comes around. By helping others you become entitled to receive goods, services or help from someone else. When you receive something, someone else is entitled to claim from the community the equivalent of what they provided.

What is the Community Exchange System?

Where can I find help please? I am new to the online system and struggling to learn how to use it?

Beginner instructions are found in the Help Files and in Downloads. There is also a ‘Help” button on each page of CES when you are logged in. Look at the far right hand side of the top grey toolbar.

How to Use CES?

Still having trouble? Please don’t hesitate to ask for help from any of the members who have been in the system for a while or contact one of the Admin or Area Contacts. We assure you the online system is easy once you know how.