IRTA Fact Sheet

IRTA,, was founded on August 31, 1979 to foster the common interests of the commercial barter industry in the United States and worldwide, and to uphold high standards of ethical business practice. IRTA works with all sectors of the barter industry to preserve, protect and enhance the industry. IRTA also interfaces with governmental agencies, the media and the public to promote the numerous benefits of barter systems as an important component for economic development. IRTA conducts research into contracts, securities and tax laws and accounting principles applicable to the retail barter, corporate barter. complementary currency systems and counter trade organizations.

Through its subsidiary, Universal Currency Clearinghouse, Inc. (UC), IRTA provides the most robust and successful global inter-exchange trading platform in the world. UC was created in 1997 and continues to set trading records on a regular basis. In 2019 UC set an all-time annual trading record by doing over 14.5 million dollars of inter-exchange trading between its members.

IRTA also provides a consumer protection program via its Ethics Complaint and resolution process, which is available to both IRTA members and non-IRTA members alike.

IRTA was responsible for the passage in 1982 in the U.S. of provisions in the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) which established barter exchanges on an equal footing with banks, savings institutions and credit card companies as third-party record keepers of financial transactions of taxpayers. The law imposed a requirement upon barter exchanges to submit information returns (1099B Forms) to the IRS for the annual barter sales made by their clients. IRTA retains a close relationship with the IRS to assure any potential new legislation is favorable to the barter industry and to assure the highest level of barter industry compliance with TEFRA.

As of 2020, IRTA has over 90 members in the commercial barter and complementary currency sectors. Members of IRTA are from the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia, China, Singapore, New Zealand, Italy, Poland, France, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Bermuda, the UK and Sardinia. Membership is open to any individual or firm who subscribes to the aims of IRTA and who has not been convicted of a serious criminal offense or was the subject of a civil judgment involving fraud. International trading firms, barter exchanges, corporate barter companies, counter-trade organizations, complementary currency groups, and governmental agencies or banks who have a keen interest in the barter industry, are all welcome to apply for membership in IRTA.

IRTA is governed by an 11-person Global Board of Directors which meets regularly to review IRTA’s progress and set goals for the future. An Annual Meeting of IRTA is held each year at the annual convention in September. The conventions include two days of speakers and seminars aimed at educating and increasing the competency of those serving the barter and complementary currency sectors. See the “News” tab of our website and sub-tab “Convention News” for more information.

In an effort to continue to provide quality barter industry education, IRTA also offers the Certified Trade Broker (CTB and Registered Trade Broker (RTB) training and accreditation programs at the convention. IRTA also created the Certified Trade Executive (CTE) designation in July of 2019 for exchange owners and managers. The CTE course materials and exam are all online at

IRTA regularly sends out digital NewsFlashes and Advisory Memos to the barter industry on important topical matters that are of concern to the industry. Recent Advisory Memos covered Management of Exchange Deficits, Franchise and Licensing Requirements and PCI Compliance. IRTA also maintains an active social media program in an ongoing effort to increase awareness of the benefits of barter both for IRTA members and the public at large.

IRTA is currently working with States in the U.S. that are looking at revising their financial regulations in response to the growth of crypto-currencies in the U.S. and worldwide, (see the Crypto-Currency section under the IRTA Library tab on this website). IRTA is pro-active with these jurisdictions so as to protect the barter industry against the adoption of any new statutory language that could potentially adversely affect the barter industry. In June of 2014 IRTA received a favorable opinion from the California Commissioner of Business Oversight ruling that barter exchanges are not considered money transmitters under the proposed new California financial guidelines. IRTA also received a similar favorable ruling regarding crypto-currencies from New York State in late 2014.

On February 7th, 2017 IRTA released an important new Advisory Memo titled, “Proper Reporting of Assets and Liabilities of the Managing Exchange vs. The Exchange Members & IRS Reporting Requirements Regarding Client/Member Bad Debt Accounts.” The Advisory Memo’s conclusions are supported by the Chicago, Illinois accounting firm of Manning Silverman & Company.

IRTA provides professional consulting services regarding all topics related to the barter industry. Recently, in December of 2015, IRTA submitted research reports were prepared the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), the development arm of the Islamic Development Bank, IDB) and the Department of Economic Development (DED) of the Government of Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

For more information on IRTA, contact IRTA’s Executive Director, Ron Whitney at or 757-393-2292.