January 19, 2011

Taxing Travels

 Today was sales tax day, my bi-annual few hours of torturing myself trying to figure out what I need to pay in sales tax to the various states I have traveled and sold in over the past few months.  This is a hellish procedure for me as #1 my accounting and math skills are not very good, #2 each state has a different procedure and it is incredibly confusing, and #3 the department of revenue websites that the states are pushing businesses to use to file sales tax are wonky and almost impossible to navigate.  In WI, I have to pay sales tax only in the months I am there making sales (but if their month on record changes from my show date and I forget to file the month they have on record, they send me a whopping bill for estimated tax... that happened once, gulp!).  In IL, I pay one time a year, although when I started, I had to file every month for a couple of years, even if it was a zero return and I didn't go to the state at all.  Illinois is particularly confusing because each county has a different tax rate and several sub rates within some counties (stadium taxes and such) and so the tax forms are even more confusing.  For Pennsylvania, I file twice a year, even though I only do one show a year, so one tax return is for no sales.  I often forget in mid summer to send that one in and get a stern reminder.  I used to file in Ohio, but shows were not great so I discontinued my license there to save me some redundant paperwork.  Of course, I file in my home state of Michigan, but thankfully that one is not due until the end of next month, so I have some time to procrastinate. :)
Anyway, this whole procedure is making me reflect on my travels last year to shows.  Sadly, many of the shows were not as profitable as I would have liked.  While I was eager to travel and experiment with shows last year, this year I am feeling like more of a home-body.  I will be focusing on local shows and of course the big ones like Bead & Button and Bead Fest.  I am looking forward to enjoying more time spent at home and in my studio this year.
I bought a tiny model train house at an antique store in Ohio.  It's so tiny and cute! I knew I could press it into clay and the windows and doors would make great patterns.  I hadn't planned to use the tiny car that was parked in the tiny driveway when I first bought it, but after pressing it into clay and seeing how adorable it was, I made some Road Trip pendants.  I also had a Boy Scout compass with raised numbers and NSWE markers, so that formed the curved pattern on these pendants.  It's funny, they remind me of my travels as well as my home here in the Motor City.
I have listed the Seafoam and Red/Pewter Road Trip Pendants in my Etsy shop.

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.


  1. Love this! Those pendants are so cute. I see all sorts of vintage maps with them. I only have to file in WI and have to get my act together. I need a system because I am not good at this whole paperwork thing.
    Thanks for the reminder!
    Enjoy the day!

  2. I'm only doing tax in my home state of Texas and in Lousiana. I love the way Louisiana collects the tax. They send out two people, one from the Parrish and one from the state, and they collect your sales tax on the spot at the event. I'm not required to have a permit in Louisiana. Some other states do the same. The only paperwork is writing the check and putting my name on the envelope.

    Texas has to be reported with each city or county listed separately. At least they allow me to file only once a year. I'm glad I don't have all the paperwork you do.