I’m doing a talk in New Jersey next month to about 100 or so people and they’ve asked me to bring some of my books to sell. It sounds like a simple and sweet deal. I get to make a few bucks and the people at the talk get to buy the related book without a trip to a store or waiting for a delivery. Everybody wins. What’s not to like?
Not so fast.
Like many states, New Jersey has a sales tax on items sold retail. Well, no problem there; I’d be glad to turn over 7% percent for the state to put towards the many wonderous things they no doubt use tax money for. But it isn’t that simple. (Are you surprised? Me neither.) I didn’t think it was a good idea to break the law to sell a book about crime, so I contacted the New Jersey tax people to see just how to send them their money. After three sub-menus and a 15 minute wait because they were “assisting other callers”, I talked to a lady who said I would have to register with the state and set up quarterly tax payments. Quarterly? For a one shot deal? Yes, she said, but then after you have done the talk and sent in the tax and done the paperwork, you can submit another form to dissolve the business you had for one night.
“This registration you speak of; is there a fee involved by any chance?”
“Yes. There is a fee of $125 to register with the state.”
“For the privilege of collecting and sending you the 7% sales tax?”
“”So every person at the talk would have to buy about five books to make it worthwhile. I think I’ll pass.”
So at my talk, I’ll be handing out post cards telling people where to get the book, but no actual books. I wonder if Steven King ever has this problem?