Alien artist ??

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Forum topic by shipwright posted 10-04-2012 04:56 PM 2026 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8166 posts in 3000 days

10-04-2012 04:56 PM

Is there anyone here who knows the legalities of a Canadian (like me) who spends substantial time in USA (like me) making and selling art objects in US galleries? Is there a minimum value that has to be exceeded in order to be a problem? Is it an absolute NO without a work visa of the like?

I have asked around and there are a couple of places that would take my work in Az but I’m not about to break any laws so it would be nice to get the facts before rather than after a problem arises. I have no problem paying taxes etc. but I’d rather pass on the whole thing than involve myself in a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy for a few hundred dollars.

Thanks for any insights or experiences you might be able to supply.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

26 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3276 days

#1 posted 10-04-2012 05:04 PM

I’m not an expert and you should not rely on me for tax or regulatory advice. However, from my experience, the biggest concern is the desire of the states to get their sales tax revenue. That is only an issue if you are selling on a retail basis to the general public. If you are selling on a wholesale basis to a store that will be reselling to the public, you need not worry about sales taxes.

It may be possible that you want to sell on a consignment basis. In that case, the consignment shop should collect and submit all sales taxes due and you would probably be okay.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2488 days

#2 posted 10-04-2012 05:16 PM

You are not working in the US if your studio (or shop) is in Canada and that’s where the pieces are created.

However, I think you should be asking this of legal council in Canada to get the straight story. I know I’m not a tax/customs/fee-and-license expert.

If it’s only a couple hundred dollars, ship the stuff to AZ and let them worry about it. That’s assuming you’re selling to the place in AZ and THEY’re actually retailing the items. If it’s consignment, ..... not enough information and any advice offered might just as well be a guess. :)

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8166 posts in 3000 days

#3 posted 10-04-2012 05:36 PM

To clarify, I have a winter home / shop in Az. It is pieces made there that I’m inquiring about.
As far as I know, under NAFTA art is a free trade item so pieces made in Canada are not the problem.

I’m assuming that there is a tax issue an immigration issue as well ????

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 3146 days

#4 posted 10-04-2012 05:37 PM

I can’t talk about products from Canada coming into the US. However, I have two stores that I sell product to in Canada. The way it works for me is that my customers pay the duties and other taxes on the product coming in. Other than the shipping costs being higher, there is nothing more to it than that. I count it as sales on my US tax forms. Really no different than US customers except for the extra cost mentioned above.

You are correct in that art is free trade under NAFTA.

I think that to clarify the situation, you need to talk to an attorney. This is too technical of a question for LJ’s.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2390 days

#5 posted 10-04-2012 05:38 PM

My “gut” reaction is that it sounds a lot like you need a work permit or similar if you don’t have residency in the USA.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

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Bill White

5128 posts in 4162 days

#6 posted 10-04-2012 05:40 PM

I’m jokin’!
Check your local codes thru your/an accountant. I can’t imagine an issue unless there is one or more in Canada.


View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4126 days

#7 posted 10-04-2012 05:41 PM

Paul I have had a lot of dealing with this type of situation and my advice to you is to contact and accountant and or lawyer when you are in AZ. They will give you the best advice. I have lived in 5 states on the east coast of the U.S. and it has been my experience that IF you consign your work the consignor is accepting all responsibility to collect any taxes due in the state they sell in. However you will be responsible for income tax for the profits you make to the Federal Government. The one catch is If its a hobby you don’t need to file or pay taxes. The catch in the catch is consecutive earnings that exceed $1,000 each year and increase over each year. But note that the Shop owner will report the sales on there tax return (Don’t believe them if they say they don’t) which could raise a flag especially if its to a non-resident in which case there are a host of issues that can arise. Also be aware that a legitimate gallery or consignment shop will probably ask for a social security number or Federal Tax I.D. number also known as an EID.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11066 posts in 3630 days

#8 posted 10-04-2012 06:45 PM

Just give the items to me.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2741 days

#9 posted 10-04-2012 09:16 PM

I agree with Gene…you can just ship them straight to me and I will take care of everything else. I’ll even pay shipping :-)

-- I never finish anyth

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4095 days

#10 posted 10-04-2012 11:27 PM

only smiles are free

art, isnt something CRA will ignore, and I doubt the IRS will either

get legal counsel, and go with your gut………if it feels like your cheating, you probably are.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View knotheadswoodshed's profile


225 posts in 2374 days

#11 posted 10-05-2012 01:37 AM

damn, I thought this thread was about woodworkers from Epsilon 9…..

-- Randy - "I dont make mistakes, I make design change opportunities"

View rance's profile


4266 posts in 3362 days

#12 posted 10-05-2012 01:40 AM

>art is free trade under NAFTA

I even googled and couldn’t understand what I read. Could someone splain this in woodworker’s english please? :)



-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View shipwright's profile


8166 posts in 3000 days

#13 posted 10-05-2012 01:58 AM

North American Free Trade Agreement Rance :-)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18391 posts in 3878 days

#14 posted 10-05-2012 03:18 AM

I would check with the IRS to see what the minimum amount you can make before you have to pay income tax.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View cathyb's profile


837 posts in 3446 days

#15 posted 10-05-2012 02:06 PM

I think selling your pieces on the internet or through a local art gallery would be the best solution. As for the income, if you don’t have dual citizenship your taxes would be due in Canada. Until you get your website up and running consider eBay or Etsy as a resource. I’m sure there are other websites out there that would give your work the exposure they deserve. Good luck,,,,,,,

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

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