Setting up a stall to sell at a craft or trade fair can be an exciting event for many businesses owners and traders. However many are not aware of the level of formal legal documentation that is required for many exhibitions or events. For businesses it is always recommended you seek advice from a commercial property lawyer who can guide you through the process. Even if you only seek them out for the first event your business participates in, it will help you with the process of any later event formalities.
One of the main areas of documentation required is a business license irrespective of your sales items or whether you make a profit from the event. Craft shows also require permits which can differ significantly depending on a range of influences. From differences between government bodies, councils or regulating bodies, to changes depending on the business or industry type, permits can easily be complex issues. If the event has informed you that you will require a permit, take care to research the exact specifications that relate to you. For the most common legal issues that trip many event presenters, here is a list of some areas to check.
Licenses and Taxes – You must have a license to sell, along with a tax ID and an Employer Identification number. Your business must also be registered, regardless if it is a sole proprietorship, partnership or a private/public limited company. In some states you can apply for a license online, however, others may require you go down to the local council and submit an application along with a processing fee. Even though getting a license should not take a long time, you should make sure that you start the process long before the show, in the case of any problems.
GST is another element to ensure you have fully researched. Some businesses are not required to charge GST on certain items however it is important to understand your position before you start to sell products. Items that classify as basic necessities or businesses that are below the income threshold will not need to charge GST. A business is also required to register for GST before charging for it on any sales products. In general, it is best to check with the ATO, an accountant or a lawyer to determine where you stand on this issue.
Mandatory Permissions – If it is simply a craft trade show that you are participating in as a promotion for your business, you may not require any separate permissions. However, it is always good to check with event organisers who will be able to advise you regarding the nature of your stall.
Food is another area where there are complicated legal requirements for selling or providing items for consumption outside of your immediate family. Most states require food sold be made in a kitchen that has been fully certified and passed a round of health & safety regulations.
Any time you enter a craft or trade show, it is wise to consult an expert in commercial policies and legislation to ensure your business is covered throughout the entire event, regardless of what happens.