Hypothetical Questions


Today TaxMama hears from someone in the TaxQuips Forum with another question about a barter. Rather than going into the details of her question (which you can read here), let’s talk about hypothetical questions.

 Dear Family,

It’s a funny thing about hypothetical, or indirect, questions. They rarely address the real issue someone wants to know about. For instance, when someone asks, “So what are you doing Friday night?” They don’t really want you to tell them all about your plans for Friday. What they are often saying is, “Let’s get together Friday night. What would you like to do?” By not asking the direct question, they end up hearing about your plans – and don’t end up getting invited to join you.

The same concept is true about tax questions. Every time someone starts out with a what-if, it turns out that there are several levels of complexity to the situation that are not mentioned. The more I start answering questions like that, the more I learn that the original question really had nothing to do with the real problem. Or the real concern.

So, when asking about something like barter, just get to the real issue. How much do you really think you have exchanged in services for other products or services? Do you think you have several thousand dollars worth of services that were never booked, where you received personal products or services in exchange for business services? Just say so – and we can deal with the real problem and how to solve it.

Or are you really obsessed with the concept of barter and unable to get it out of your mind? Is it really that fascinating? Sometimes, that happens, too.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about barter and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At www.TaxMama.com.

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