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community way - faq - (revisions)

community way faq

What is the community way program?

    A business backed local currency that provides funding for community projects and organizations. These community way dollars (cw$) circulate within the community, enabling more business and trade.

What are community way dollars?

    Merchant credits (dollars) that can be spent at participating businesses, at par, dollar for dollar, generally as a percentage of the sale price. For example, on a $20 meal, a restaurant would collect $10 in normal money and cw$10, plus taxes on the whole amount in normal money. Smart cards are the preferred method of payment.

Where do cw$ come from?

    Businesses issue them when they make substantial donations to community organizations of their choice. Their community way account is debited and the organizations' accounts are credited. Businesses commit to redeeming the cw$ they issue.

What are smart cards?

    A plastic card with an embedded computer chip that stores information. The smart card stores the currency balance and a record of the last 10 transactions.

Do I need a smart card to use cw$?

    Visitors do need a smart card, but businesses and local residents don't necessarily. With a cw$ account locals can sign for their purchases in a payment ledger.

Who benefits?

    Community organizations Your exchange of cw$ for Cdn $ directly funds community organizations and supports community economic development. Unlike Cdn $ which typically circulate 1.4 times within a community, local currencies remain to circulate over and over.

Who profits from this system?

    The providers of the smart card equipment (memepro) make a profit, which helps finance community currency systems in other communities.

Will I get stuck with cw$ I can't spend?

    No, all the listed businesses accept them, and visitors can turn in unspent cw$ for Cdn$ when they leave.

What about taxes?

    Taxes are collected and paid in Cdn $ on the total amount of the sale, including the cw$ portion. Donations of cw$ to registered charities are tax deductable and wages paid in cw$ are taxable income.

(Got another question? Email us at ey@openmoney.org)

Can I lose my cw$ without knowing it?

    Only if you lose your card - like losing your wallet with cash in it. You can check your balance at any participating business.

Is someone collecting information when I use my smart card?

    No - the cards only keep track of the money you have and spend. No personal data is EVER collected.

How is the program funded?

    Participating businesses pay the community way project a registration fee in cw$. They also pay for the smart card equipment in cw$. The project exchanges the cw$ for Cdn$ with supporters of the community way programme.

Can I take the card home with me?

    Yes, your deposit will be used to replace the card.

What can I do to start a similar program in my community?

Business questions

What does a business do with the cw$ earned through sales?

    Spend them with other businesses, pay staff bonuses, hire contractors, donate them.

How are cw$ issued?

    When a business registers and makes cw$ donations to organizations and projects of their choice, a cw$ account is opened and debited the amount of the donation plus any fees and equipment charges. The community group and cw administration accounts are credited correspondingly.

How is this account administered?

    Just like a regular bank account, any transactions cleared through the accounting service is credited and debited accordingly and statements produced on a regular basis. Accounts can be managed through a website by the owner of the account, just like online banking. To learn how, see http://www.openmoney.org/go/cc.html

How much can a business issue?

    The cw$ donation level is based on the capacity of the business to redeem them, usually around cw$1000 per full time worker (or equivalent). A 5 person business would donate cw$5000 to community organizations and projects of their choice

(Got another question? Email us at ey@openmoney.org)

How much does it cost?

    A small business would pay about cw$800-1000 for registration and smart card point-of-sale equipment. All payments are in cw$ - a business never parts with cash.

What is the obligation?

    To accept cw$ at the advertised rate, usually a portion of any sale. If a business chooses to leave the program, it must redeem the amount of the current cw$ account debit balance.

Are taxes collected on the whole amount of the sale?

    Yes, Revenue Canada requires all taxes to be paid, just like with Cdn$.

Community organizations

How does an organization get coast dollars (cw$)?
    Ask businesses to donate them.

How can an organization use cw$?

    Spend cw$ at any participating business, pay for unpaid staff time, top up wages, extend paid time, reward volunteers, and exchange them for Cdn$ with supporters.

What are the tax implications?

    The cw$ donations made by businesses are treated the same as Cdn$ donations and are receipted accordingly. Any cw$ wages paid to workers are considered taxable income.

How does an organization join the program?

    By completing a community organization registration form online or delivering to the Comox Valley community currencies project, 719 6th Street, Courtenay. A cw$ account is opened with a null balance until cw$ donations are posted to the account.

What does it cost?

    All costs are covered by the participating businesses - there are no fees to community groups.

(Got another question? Email us at ey@openmoney.org)