We posted this each year as a heads up to Phish fans who might be selling posters, shirts, stickers, pins or other items outside of MSG. Read on for a true life story from the NYE 2010 run and avoid getting arrested this New Years Run!
Woke Up This Morning…
NYC Tax Evasion
One Way To Avoid Jail If You Plan On Vending This NYE run
by Uncle Ebeneezer
If you enjoyed the Makisupa on 1/1/11, you’re welcome. I got arrested before the show that day for selling artwork on the first poster I sold that day. I was arrested with another phan who was selling pins (really awesome pins too). Why? Neither of us had a tax id. After selling a poster in front of the venue before doors opened, I was approached by a police officer and before I knew it, was in cuffs. I was searched and placed with a vendor who was selling pins. There was a semi-circle of 5 cops around us, as if we were active threats to public safety. After a half hour, we were loaded into a paddy wagon and driven to a station to be booked. We were hassled and we were mocked at the station for being phans, we were threatened and insulted, we had our shoelaces, belts and strings from our hoodies removed, we were fingerprinted and photographed…all for selling posters and pins. Luckily we made it out (with a ticket to appear in a New York City court in February) and inside the venue without missing any music, but I don’t recommend the experience to anyone.
This poster was the case
Following the steps below could have saved me from a major bummer of an experience. Be safe if you’re vending in NYC this year. Let’s face it, with all that is going on down on Wall Street, NYPD are going to be extra anxious to crack a few heads this year. Don’t be that head. I made it out of the precinct and inside MSG without missing any music, but I don’t recommend it to anyone. The City of New York requires all vendors including artists and written matter vendors to have a sales tax ID and carry it with them while vending.
To apply for a NY State Tax ID
Go to: http://www.nystax.gov/forms/sales_cur_forms.htm
Use form # DTF-17 (Fill-in)
Application to Register for a Sales Tax Certificate of Authority.
Use the NAICS Code Lookup to locate the appropriate NAICS code for
your sales tax registration.
See also Publication 75
OR apply for a tax ID online at http://www.nys-opal.com/
click on Taxation and Finance, Department of
Then click Certificate of Authority to Collect Sales Tax
Some more great info courtesy of Noah Phence: http://knol.google.com/k/selling-art-on-the-street-the-basics#
Don’t be that head.
The need for a vending permit to sell anything in NYC was brought to our attention. According to this link, a vending permit is not needed for specific things:
You must have a General Vendor license if you sell, lease, or offer to sell or lease goods or services in a public place.
You do NOT need a General Vendor license if:
- You sell newspapers, periodicals, books, pamphlets, or other written matter.
- You sell artwork, including paintings, photographs, prints, and sculptures.
- You sell food. Note: Food vending requires a license from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/health for information about food cart vendor licenses and permits.
- You will only sell merchandise from a booth or stand at an authorized Street Fair (e.g., street fair, block party, or festival). Please note that you must obtain a Temporary Street Fair Vendor Permit to sell merchandise at an authorized Street Fair.
Phish fans could go so far as to argue that pins, shirts, etc… are artwork, and rightly so. PhanArt believes that anything that can be construed as taking a creative effort to design qualifies as art. This would not include food and other things that are more disposable, but this of course is up to the officer in question who approaches you. Be careful and if they ask you to stop selling, do so. It is artwork but is it worth going to jail for? More specifically, is it worth going to jail and missing Phish?
Disclaimer: While this information is a step to avoid problems from the police, it cannot prevent them from acting in their own judgment and arresting you for this or other offenses. PhanArt is offering this up as a potential to avoid arrest or harassment for vending in and around MSG. This is not iron clad and should not be treated as so. If you do take this advice, please remember to pay your taxes on the works you collect – both City of New York and State of New York taxes.