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What are Pennsylvania state laws regarding small scale, internet based crafts business?

Bradford, PA |

I crochet and craft frequently, and was thinking about starting an online shop where I'd sell patterns of my own design and the occasional finished product. Estimated yearly sales would be less than 500.00 dollars. Do I need to file for tax permits at this low level? Are there other forms I need to complete? If there is not paperwork to be filed, what is the threshold income that I would need to file for paperwork, should my sales exceed my expectations? And if I do file paperwork, do I need to charge sales tax for my primary product, a pdf file that is entirely digital in nature?

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Attorney answers 4


Crafts and patterns are governed fy federal copyright law.

Your city, not your state governs your business operations. Unless you have an exemption for a small business or for some other reason, you may need a business license. Check the finance office of your city's website.

Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.


No matter the size of your business, I would want to insulate myself (personal assets) from any potential exposure. You can very easily set up an LLC to accomplish just that task. Any income or losses flow directly down to your personal income tax return.

My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given by an attorney who agrees to represent you, who reviews the facts of your specific case, who does not have a conflict of interest preventing the representation, and who is licensed as an attorney in the state where the law applies. less


Why don't you start out on Ebay or Etsy and see if there is any business prior to incurring all of these costs?

Please note that we are not forming an attorney - client relationship and the advice is meant to be general. Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky 1616 Walnut Street Suite 2110 Philadelphia, PA 19103


In answer to your question about taxes, you would need to collect the 6% Pennsylvania sales tax on any sales to Pennsylvania residents. Regardless of the amount of your sales, if you are conducting a business selling goods, you could be subject to fines and penalties from the PA Department of Revenue if you don't collect sales tax from PA residents.

There are currently no requirements to collect sales tax from residents of other states, but this is likely to change in the not-too-distant future, as many states are looking to online sales as a revenue source.

You might want to start by looking at the PA Open For Business website at This is a site specifically for startup businesses to assist you in getting through all of the requirements you may find.

Of course, as with all of my online answers, my advice is limited by the brevity of your question and the facts provided. Additional information would be required to provide definitive legal advice, so this answer isn't intended to, and does not, create an attorney-client relationship.

Good luck!

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