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Etsy labels? Heads Up!

This is a good news / bad news post–be sure to read to the end.

Good news:

US sellers who aren’t using Direct Checkout can now use Etsy labels! I’m very excited to give these a try for our First Class International packages.

As fun as the stamps are using our current method for printing First Class International labels and getting the customs form submitted online (for free), I’ll also be pleased to have a smoother process for mailing our international Etsy orders.

Bad news:

If you’ve been using Etsy’s labels and haven’t been paying attention, you might be in for an unfortunate surprise.

When you print the label, sometimes it is not printing the label you see on the screen–sometimes it prints the previous label again… for some sellers these packages are already in the mail.

It’s been happening for at least a week now. One admin suggested the conflict is with FireFox, another post said FireFox and Windows 7. How ever it goes–be sure to check your label before mailing your package!

See a few posts on the topic here:

Scary Shipping label Problem – 6 Packages Sent to One Customer

On page 2 of the thread above Mocahete shares what’s been working to avoid this for them. More threads on the topic:

Serious Problems with Etsy Shipping Labels

Problem with shipping labels

Here’s hoping your packages all get to their intended destination without coming back to you first!



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What is Self-Insurance?

GoToSupplies

Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012
This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

Since most packages arrive at their destination safely, many sellers choose to self-insure instead of purchasing insurance from the service they are shipping through or through third-party insurers (great for insuring International First Class when you need it since USPS doesn’t offer insurance on First Class International Mail). Some call it a rainy day fund, some just consider it part of their overhead.

How do you self insure?

Basically you build a little into your item price or shipping to cover your losses–say 25 or 50 cents–or whatever works out right for you/your item prices, then put that extra money aside to cover the few packages that go missing.

For example, if you have 1 in 100 packages go missing, raise your item prices or shipping by the cost of a missing item divided by 99 delivered packages and you should be good. For a $24 item:

$24.00 / 99 = about $0.25

That’s a real simple example, it won’t be as easy if your prices vary a lot, but should give you an idea of how it works. Even if you added $1 to every $24 item to cover the losses, your buyer would still be paying less than if you insured through the postal service. Another great benefit–you don’t have to file an insurance claim with anyone to wait to be re-imbursed. You have the money, you take care of your buyer, the end.

When do you self insure & when do you pay for insurance?

Every business has a different price point at which they need help covering the loss of an item. If you mostly sell $25 items but have a few that are far more expensive, you might choose to purchase insurance on the pricey items.

If you have a few that are especially delicate or irreplaceable, those might be ones to pay for insurance on, while if you whole business is delicate or irreplaceable items, you might just charge a bit more for your self-insurance.

Is self-insurance legal?

I have read a few times that self-insurance is illegal in some places, though I haven’t been able to find information about that when it comes to shipping–just car insurance, employee health insurance, that sort of thing.

To be on the safe side, we don’t mention insurance unless it is a package that we’ll purchase insurance for, from an extrernal insurer (like USPS, third party insurers, etc.)

More on purchasing insurance here, including information on third-party insurance:

Shipping Insurance

And more shipping help in general here–same as the gold link in the right sidebar of every blog page:

Shipping Basics


Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012
This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

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2012 USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines

Christmas Decor: Stained Glass Noel Sign
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Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012
This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

Time to consider what you’ll be setting for your holiday shipping cut-off dates.

Hanukkah starts Saturday, December 8, 2012, so you’ll need a pretty early cut off for those celebrating–unless their aiming for later in the week.

Christmas is on a Tuesday this year–might make it a bit tricky since that puts Christmas Eve on Monday… We’ll want all our Christmas-celebrating customers to get their packages by Saturday–just in case.


Domestic Mail
USPS suggests these as the last mail-by dates for Christmas deliveries for 2012:
Parcel Post: December 14
First Class Mail: December 20
Priority Mail: December 21
Express Mail: December 22



International Mail
USPS suggests these as the last mail-by dates for Christmas deliveries for 2012,
deadlines by mail service & country
Don’t forget–these timelines can change if your goods get stopped by customs.
The UK has been cracking down lately stopping more packages than normal. Germany requires all packages to include invoices attached to the outside of the package (see here for more). It probably wouldn’t hurt to do that for other countries too.
First Class International Mail:
December 3

Africa
Central & South America

December 10

All other countries





Priority Mail International:
December 3

Africa
Central & South America

December 10

Asia / Pacific Rim
Australia / New Zealand
Mexico

December 13

Canada
Caribbean
Europe
Middle East

Express Mail International:

December 11

Africa
Central & South America

December 15

Asia / Pacific Rim
Australia / New Zealand
Caribbean
Europe
Mexico
Middle East

December 17

Canada

Global Express Guaranteed Service:

December 18

Asia / Pacific Rim
Australia / New Zealand

December 19

Africa
Caribbean
Central & South America
Europe
Middle East

December 20

Canada
Mexico

Quarterly Taxes???

Help for understanding what they are & when you need to pay them


Visit our Etsy shop: GoToSupplies
Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012
This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

So it seems the Etsy “Taxes, Typewriters, Teams!” email and the “Wrapping Your Head Around Quarterly Estimated Taxes” blog post have folks wondering what they are supposed to be doing tax-wise and plenty seem confused.

While the vast majority of sole proprietors might have to pay quarterly estimated income taxes as mentioned in Etsy’s blog post, that is not true of the vast majority of Etsy sellers since most don’t sell enough to owe enough in income taxes to file quarterly. I’m afraid that wording was scare-tactic-y, and has made many worry.

To help allay your fears, here’s the basic run down for US sellers…

None of this info is meant to be a replacement for a good small business accountant if you need one, just a way to lead you to the info you can get free from official sources.

Federal:

Income Tax & Self-Employment Tax:
Most US sellers are responsible for filing tax returns on their sales to the federal government. If you are a sole proprietor you file the schedule C with your personal income taxes at the end of the year to report your self-employment earnings (help with the schedule C here).

Quarterly Estimated Taxes: This is what the Etsy email & blog was referring to–it is just a way to pay you self-employment tax (Social Security & Medicare Taxes) as you go instead of paying it all at the end of the year. You only need to pay quarterly taxes to the federal government if you expect to owe $1,000 or more in income taxes at the end of the year.

Estimated taxes are like when you work for someone else & there’s tax withheld from your pay–for self-employed individuals there’s no one doing the withholding, so there’s estimated tax instead.

Most small sellers don’t need to worry about estimated taxes–if you didn’t owe anywhere near $1,000 last year and business is about the same, you’re probably fine but you should keep track of your books so you can estimate when you’ll need to start paying quarterly taxes.

To see this info on the IRS’ website, and to see the way you calculate tax owed before you do your end-of-year income taxes to see if you need to file quarterly taxes, see this IRS page:

Estimated Taxes on the IRS website
http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Estimated-Taxes

“Who Must Pay Estimated Tax” section tells you about the $1,000 number.

“How To Figure Estimated Tax” section tells you the math behind your income & expenses that determines how much you’ll need to pay/shows you if you pass the $1,000 mark–as you see on that page, you use the IRS Form 1040-ES to do that math.


State:

Income Tax:
Most US sellers are responsible for filing income tax returns on their sales to their state government (in states with income tax). Some states will require you to file more often than once a year so be sure to check directly with your state for how it works.

Sales tax:
Most US sellers (whether a business or hobby / individual seller) need to file sales tax returns with their state government for the sales tax due in-state transactions. (More on sales tax below.)

Please note:
A few states also have business taxes, property taxes or other taxes but the rules are very different from state to state so I recommend checking out your state’s website and/or calling them for more details about your responsibilities (see the link below for your state’s official website).


Sales tax is a state-based tax and is totally separate from income tax. It usually requires the seller to register first, then collect tax from the buyer & remit it to the state on sales tax returns to be filed according to the schedule the state gives you (some monthly, some quarterly, some only once a year).

Generally, sales tax returns need to be filed whether or not you’ve had any sales.

If you haven’t registered with your state yet, this post will help you find the info you need directly from your state:

US: Sales Tax & Business Registration
Links to Official Government Websites

If you need more help, I can often be found in this Etsy forum thread–just post there and I’ll respond best I can:

http://www.etsy.com/teams/7722/business-topics/discuss/9799713

I hope that clears a few things up and de-stresses a lot of sellers. :)



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Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012
This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

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Etsy Policy Update–Prohibited Items Changes August 2012


Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012
This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

We’ve got some Etsy News–policy update of the prohibited items list as of August 8th! Changes to a few different topics but one will change many, many listings on Etsy…

I’ve wondered if Etsy would ever make policy rules to protect buyers from the health claims seen in listings, and this policy change covers that.

Some may be upset by the policy that requires the removal of medical claims in item listings (for example in bath & body items claiming to treat medical conditions), but I think that it will protect buyers & keep some sellers away from the risk of breaking US federal regulations which require scientific proof before you can claim that anything will help someone medically.

Etsy’s blog post about the policy update:

Changes to the Prohibited Items List

Several admin posts clarifying the changes can be found in the forums in these threads if you need more info or would like to discuss the topic:

Site Help: Prohibited items

Business Topics: Anti Aging & Acne Treatment Removal


What are the changes?

July 11, 2012 version August 8, 2012 version
Prohibited items

Every Etsy seller is responsible for following the laws that apply to you, your shop and your items, including any shipping restrictions for your items.

There are some types of items that we don’t allow in Etsy’s marketplace, even if they are legal and otherwise meet Etsy’s selling criteria. Some things just aren’t in the spirit of Etsy. The following types of items may not be listed on Etsy:

Prohibited items

Every Etsy seller is responsible for following the laws that apply to you, your shop and your items, including any shipping restrictions for your items.

There are some types of items that we don’t allow in Etsy’s marketplace, even if they are legal and otherwise meet Etsy’s selling criteria. Some things just aren’t in the spirit of Etsy. The following types of items may not be listed on Etsy:

  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Tobacco and other smokeable products
  • Drugs, drug-like substances, drug paraphernalia
  • Drugs, medical drug claims about an item, drug paraphernalia
  • Live animals, illegal animal products
  • Live animals, illegal animal products
  • (none)
  • Human remains or body parts (excluding hair and teeth)
  • Pornography
  • Pornography
  • Firearms and/or weapons
  • Firearms and/or weapons
  • (none)
  • Hazardous materials (for example: flammable, explosive, corrosive, poisonous, etc.)
  • Recalled items
  • Recalled items
  • Real estate
  • Real estate
  • Motor vehicles (automobiles, motorcycles, boats, etc.)
  • Motor vehicles (for example: automobiles, motorcycles, boats, travel trailers, etc.)
  • Items or listings that promote, support or glorify hatred toward or otherwise demean people based upon: race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation; including items or content that promote organizations with such views
  • Items or listings that promote, support or glorify hatred toward or otherwise demean people based upon: race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation; including items or content that promote organizations with such views
  • Items or listings that promote or support illegal activity or instruct others to engage in illegal activity
  • Items or listings that promote or support illegal activity or instruct others to engage in illegal activity
  • Items or listings that promote, support or glorify acts of violence or harm towards self or others
  • Items or listings that promote, support or glorify acts of violence or harm towards self or others
  • Even beyond these standards, Etsy members are responsible for making important moral or ethical decisions regarding what they buy and sell on Etsy.

    We reserve the right to remove listings that we determine are not within the spirit of Etsy. Such listings will be removed from the site, and the member’s selling privileges may be suspended and/or terminated. If Etsy removes an item listing for violating Etsy policy, the seller is still obligated to pay the listing fee for that item. Suspended or terminated members remain obligated to pay Etsy for all unpaid fees per our Terms of Use.

    Even beyond these standards, Etsy members are responsible for making important moral or ethical decisions regarding what they buy and sell on Etsy.

    We reserve the right to remove listings that we determine are not within the spirit of Etsy. Such listings will be removed from the site, and the member’s selling privileges may be suspended and/or terminated. If Etsy removes an item listing for violating Etsy policy, the seller is still obligated to pay the listing fee for that item. Suspended or terminated members remain obligated to pay Etsy for all unpaid fees per our Terms of Use.

    July 11, 2012 version August 8, 2012 version

    Thanks to Rob White & stellaloella for responding to folk’s questions about the new policies.


    Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012
    This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

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    Selling Handmade Clothing?
    Textile Goods?
    Things you need to know…


    Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012
    This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

    Did you know that there are federal labeling requirements for textile & wool goods in the US? And if you’re making clothing, garment care labels are also required. There are some exemptions–the details of what is & isn’t covered by these requirements can be found on the FTC website (Federal Trade Commission):

    Threading Your Way Through the Labeling Requirements
    Under the Textile and Wool Acts

    and

    Clothes Captioning:
    Complying with the Care Labeling Rule

    These are US federal regulations, but some states also have rules you need to be following–the garment industry, for example, has rules that might apply to you in a few states.

    New York & California both have special registration requirements for makers of garments, other states too–see here for links to official state websites where you can get more information about the state & local rules for your business:

    US: Sales Tax & Business Registration
    Links to Official Government Websites

    So if you are selling goods made from cloth/fabric, yarn, wool, etc., be sure to brush up on what is required for your business!


    Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012
    This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

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    Etsy Down?



    Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012
    All posts are copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.


    Wondering what is going on with Etsy when the site goes down? Here’s how you find out:

    Etsy Status:


    WordPress Site and Twitter



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    “Eye” Q Test–What’s Your Color IQ?



    Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012

    Time for a little fun! How about a ‘color IQ test’? Move the color swatches into proper order:

    http://xritephoto.com/ph_toolframe.aspx?action=coloriq

    What’s your score? I got a 16–next time I’m going to brighten my monitor and see if I can do better. :)


    Blog update: I recently updated the “Figuring Out Your Secondary Shipping Rates” post with details of how to account for the bump to Priority mail that shipping multiple items in the same package can trigger:

    “Ship with another item” demystified:
    Getting accurate secondary shipping rates doesn’t have to be difficult.




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    Etsy Shipping for Etsy Direct Checkout


    Visit our Etsy shop: GoTo
    Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012
    This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.



    If you’ve been frustrated by not having the easy Paypal shipping link* for your Direct Checkout orders, and have resorted to paying for a label service or copying & pasting the address into the blank shipping label form on Paypal/using the multi-label tool** you might be pleased to learn that US sellers who use Direct Checkout can ship domestic orders through Etsy now–after joining the Shipping Improvements Team:

    Purchase & Print USPS Shipping Labels on Etsy




    *Don’t have the shipping label link on your Paypal account overview page next to each Paypal transaction? Click here for how to get it to show:

    Shipping Through Paypal

    **Don’t know how to print Paypal labels without a Paypal transaction? See here for two different ways:

    Shipping Through Paypal Without a Transaction



    Need a Shop Critique?

    Have you seen Team SASsy’s “Shop Critique Check List”? Great info from experienced sellers available free. :) Read More

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