Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Show Off Your Stash - Link Party!

So one of my favorite fabric suppliers, XO Gigi Fabrics put up a blog post about sharing our work spaces. I, of course, waited until the very last minute. My office is a mess and I'm about to head out of town. So, here's the quickie tour:
My work space - 
multipurpose table: sewing machine, glue mat (brown), cutting mat (teal), glue gun, woodburning tool (to seal ribbon ends), tripod and lamp for product photography
behind the table: my "chair", ribbon, uncut fabrics, shipping supplies, train tracks (for my son's Lionel trains - I keep thinking that I'll get it cleaning up enough so that he can play with then in here), ironing board, craft show totes and that white cabinet is where I put my sewing machine manual and oil and photography prop backgrounds.
in front of the table: lots of supplies including unsorted ribbon, elastic (FOE, lace and skinny), clippies, fabric that's already been cut to size, unsold finished products, note cards, and, um... extra school supplies...

Here's my "stache" of cut fabrics - I need to ramp this up a bit because fabric sandwich bag selling season is coming up quickly!

Seeing this reminds me that I need to place an order - the tub on the bottom is my fabric stash and it's not as full as I like it (overflowing gets me moving!). Most in the tub are 1-2 yards of fabric that I will cut to become cloth sandwich bags. The one on top, Michael Miller's Send in the Crowns in white, is one of my daughter's favorites but I'm afraid to use it on anything because she gets things so dirty! I had put it away for her along with Andover's At the Barre quilt blocks, but I think it's time to get it in the mix! My real stash addiction is ribbon though - it's where my shop started! You can see it organized on top and I need to make another one (bigger/better) of these ribbon racks for the unsorted piles that I tried to hide in the picture of my whole office!

So, that's my stash!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Marketplace Fairness Act

I don't do "political" very often - it has to be something I feel very strongly about so when I spent 5 house researching this (without even dipping into my chocolate supply!), I knew I had to write about it. This morning, after reading that the Senate had voted to bring the Marketplace Fairness Act to the floor for debate, I spent a good amount of time researching it. The idea of the act, if passed, is that online retailers will need to collect and remit Sales and Use Tax to municipalities that they do not have a significant nexus or physical presence (the hallmarks of due process) thus affecting interstate commerce. In VA, like many other states, when you make out of state purchases via mail order (phone, catalog, or internet) or in person where you did not pay sales tax where your purchase cumulatively totals more than $100 per year (not per purchase), you should be paying Use Tax (it's the "other half" of the 1966 Virginia Assembly Sales and Use Tax Act). It's not a well enforced tax and would be a significant revenue source for states if passed. Currently, it is the duty of the consumer/resident to report and pay these taxes but the MFA is seeking to change the burden of filing and remitting Use Tax from the consumer to businesses. The Supreme Court has held for almost 60 years (most notably Miller Bro.s v. Maryland and National Bellas Hess v. Illinois and more recently in Quill Corp v. North Dakota) that if states and municipalities were allowed to impose tax burdens on out of state businesses, "the resulting impediments upon the free conduct of its interstate business would be neither imaginary nor remote".

Miller Brothers established that there was no due process definite link in delivery of items purchased across state lines.
National Bellas Hess established the same with products sent via mail or common courier.
Quills Corp was actually interesting in that it addressed semi-online catalogs (floppy disks with software that could check the out of state warehouse inventory and place orders - precursor to internet sales) which thus established that having the software or disk did not constitute a presence in the state.
All reflect on the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution combined with the Import/Export Clause and find the same - that states may not impose tax or duties on out of state businesses - but the work-around of this proposed act is that Congress will be regulating this commerce, not the states. I'm not sure how Congress regulating this type of commerce will be less impeding...

Previous attempts to pass similar laws have been rejected due to complicated tax codes. The difference this time is that software could be created to do the legwork (there are programs out there that currently have this functionality) but who would take the blame and pay the penalty when it is incorrectly calculated? The MFA lists both software vendor and merchant are liable.

My proposition being sent to my senators and congressmen is to educate consumers on their duty to pay this tax on their own purchases rather than to make me, as a business owner, become a sales tax expert in literally thousands of tax jurisdictions.

Please take time to write to your Representatives to share your feelings about this Act. And remember to file your own Use Tax to show that this act is not needed!

Info on the Marketplace Fairness Act:
Contact your Senators:
Contact your Congressman:
Virginia Use Tax Form (also can be paid on your personal income tax form 760):