Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

I've mostly done art shows in Michigan since I started. Part of it is simply trying to figure out an art fair formula that works for me and part of it is that I (thank God!) have a day job that makes it difficult to do out-of-state shows.

But ... the time is approaching when I will want to do some out of state shows. 

My question is how do I handle the sales tax? Is there a general rule-of-thumb for the type of license I get or the way I handle sales tax? My only experience so far is with Ohio - and that hasn't gone well so any advice from traveling artists would be most welcome.

Thanks! ~ Fletcher 

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The better shows will provide this information up front when you have been accepted or in artist invitation info. In CO many shows collect sales tax at end of event and pay it. Other provide info on how to file your return.  If no upfront information, ask them.

Each state is different. I hear California can be really bad. 

It can be complicated if you are a C or S corporation too. Don't know about LLC's. Texas was a real zoo for my S corp and they kept thinking I was a TX business after doing just 2 shows there.  AZ refunded my sales tax by mistake then tried to dunn me for non payment. CA I heard requires $2K deposit for sales takes - yes $2,000.

Shows let you know what licenses to apply for and usually how to pay afterwards.  That can vary.  Texas wants all sales taxes at year's end, other states want quarterly returns whether you were there or not, although you might be able to get a suspension on their roles and avoid that hassle.  Sometimes you pay right after the show, sometimes the show itself collects the taxes.  The states want their money and generally make sure you know what to do.

Irony (in my mind): we pay them money for a license for the privilege of collecting taxes for them.  I think the license should be free of charge.


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