I recently moved to a new suburb and noticed an ad in the community news for a baby-sitting club. The scheme involves sitting other people’s kids in exchange for reciprocal services. The baby sitting club is a central broker and maintains records of who is entitled to what baby-sitting credits. In this case the medium of exchange is baby-sitting hours.
In a similar vein I remember seeing a TV story about an enterprising single mother who had managed to completely renovate her home by creating a system of exchange with a number of local tradesmen. She went one step further than the baby-sitting club and introduced an exchange rate. Depending on the skill of the tradesman she offered a different exchange of her time.
To prepare my 2011-12 tax declaration, I’ll log onto the ATO e-tax portal to see what information the ATO already knows about me. The online lodgement process will prefill all the relevant information the ATO has already collected about me.
So how does the ATO know so much about me?