Most garage sales get an ex­emp­tion from sales tax

Austin American-Statesman - - LIFE & ARTS - Con­tact Peter Mongillo at P.O. Box 670, Austin 78767; (512) 445-3697; e-mail pmongillo@states­man.com or fax (512) 445-3968.

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?

—M.B.

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.

—C.T.

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.

—J.B.

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.”

Al­berto Martínez

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.

PETER MONGILLO

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