Most garage sales get an exemption from sales tax
Grackles have taken over our backyard feeders and birdbaths. We had many finches, mockingbirds and cardinals in our yard, but they are no longer able to get to the feeders. The birdbaths are disgusting. I tried to drive the grackles off by removing feeders and not filling the birdbaths. It didn’t work. Do you have any good ideas to get rid of these pests?
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be much you can do to persuade the grackles, which are protected from harm under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, to move on. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department ornithologist Cliff Shackelford says that while some people try noise makers, streamers or balloons, grackles probably are not going to budge.
Falconer Steve Oleson of Winged Victory LLC (www.wingedvictoryllc.com) is licensed by the government to use trained hawks to scare off grackles, but adds that while he could possibly take on residential clients, his services are generally reserved for areas plagued by hundreds of birds.
We wore out the microwave at our office. Where can we take it locally for recycling?
—K.L. I’ve heard that after three garages sales in a year, one must collect sales tax. Is that true? And if it is, how does one collect it? Also, does a garage sale lasting from Friday to Sunday count as one garage sale or three? I need to know. I have too much junk to sell in one weekend. I want to be legal.
Previously, guidelines set by the state comptroller’s office required serial garagesale holders to acquire a permit and collect sales tax after two garage sales in one year, but that has changed. The agency now follows rules as set out in the state tax code regarding occasional sales.
Basically, if you are selling personal property, you do not hire an auctioneer or broker to sell your property and your total sales do not exceed $3,000, then you are probably exempt from paying sales tax, regardless of how many sales you hold. If you have questions about whether you are required to collect sales tax, call the comptroller’s sales tax hotline at (800) 252-5555.
Round 2 Technologies, 6301 E. Stassney Lane, Building 6, Suite 400 will accept microwaves for recycling for a $10 fee. The company also accepts televisions ($15 for a table-top, $20 for a console), old computer equipment ($5-$10 for old monitors, printers, etc.; no charge for desktop and laptop computers). Drop-off hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Call 3428855 with questions about disposal of specific items.
Does any company accept used plastic-foam cups that have been washed or rinsed and that could be recycled? I have accumulated a good supply now.
Cycled Plastics, 10200 McKalla Place, accepts foam marked EPS No. 6, PP No. 5, LDPE No. 4. Foam-in-place, a yellow foam with gray bagging, is not accepted. Clean food residue from items first. Plastic foam takeout trays with any type of oil stain are not recyclable. Cycled Plastics also accepts packing peanuts if you bag them separately. Drop off items from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Do not drop off on weekends. For more information, visit www. cycledplastics.com and click on “services.”
You’ve seen them at the fountain, at your outdoor cafe table and at your bird feeders. And they’re likely to stay; measures such as streamers and noise makers don’t always help.