Does Anybody Pay Maryland’s 6% Use Tax?

I never knew Maryland had a use tax. Are we really expected to pay this?

Every time you purchase taxable tangible goods, whether in person, over the phone, or on the Internet, the purchase is subject to Maryland’s 6 percent sales and use tax if you use the merchandise in Maryland. State sales taxes apply to purchases made in Maryland while the use tax refers to the tax on goods purchased out of state. If you make a tax-free purchase out of state and need to pay Maryland’s 6 percent use tax, file the Consumer Use Tax Return for Out-of-State Purchases, with your payment, by the appropriate due date.

The use tax form and the required payment should be mailed to:

Compliance Division
301 West Preston Street, Room 203
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2383

When you purchase goods from businesses located outside of Maryland, they are not required to collect Maryland’s sales tax unless they have a physical location, or deliver services, in Maryland. Also, you are not required to pay the sales tax in the state where the business is located. However, you are required to pay the 6 percent use tax directly to the Comptroller of Maryland by filing the consumer use tax return by the appropriate due date.

If you do not pay Maryland’s use tax on purchases made out of state, you could be liable for penalties and interest in addition to the tax due.

Every state that has a sales tax also has a use tax. Maryland’s use tax protects Maryland businesses from unfair competition. Local businesses would be at a competitive disadvantage if consumers were entitled to a 6 percent discount on items purchased from out of state businesses.


Volunteer Travel Opportunities

Excerpted from “Volunteer Abroad,” by Jemilah Magnusson for

With summer in the air, it’s time to stretch our legs, get away from work or school and rediscover the world and ourselves. And in this rediscovery, helping others can play a large part. While still a senior in high school, Stephanie Wilks heard the call for volunteers at Kenya’s Maasai Centre for Field Studies. She leapt at the chance and spent her vacation teaching English to African schoolchildren and helping organize eco tours for other visitors. From home visits among the Maasai tribe to scouting for local medicinal plants, “the point was not to be spectators, but to meet people and have conversations,” Wilks says. The experience sparked an interest in volunteering that has blossomed into a career: Wilks now works for World Culture Open, a non-profit organization which fosters intercultural understanding.

Wilks isn’t alone in finding volunteer experiences life-changing. For many travelers, the smaller the world gets, the more they want to connect meaningfully with the people they visit. One sign of of this growing spirit of volunteerism: In 2006, the Peace Corps took their largest number of volunteers in the history of the service. Volunteer experience also distinguishes new entrants in the competitive work market, particularly those intent on pursuing environmentally-oriented careers. “For most jobs in international development, even entry-level jobs, [employers] want to know that you understand the complexities of other cultures,” Wilks says, adding, “The only way you can really do that is to have lived and worked overseas.”

Volunteer Travel Opportunities.


How to Live With Just 100 Things

Excerpted from “How to Live With Just 100 Things,” by Lisa McLaughlin for Time Magazine:

Excess consumption is practically an American religion. But as anyone with a filled-to-the-gills closet knows, the things we accumulate can become oppressive. With all this stuff piling up and never quite getting put away, we’re no longer huddled masses yearning to breathe free; we’re huddled masses yearning to free up space on a countertop. Which is why people are so intrigued by the 100 Thing Challenge, a grass-roots movement in which otherwise seemingly normal folks are pledging to whittle down their possessions to a mere 100 items.

“Stuff starts to overwhelm you,” says Dave Bruno, 37, an online entrepreneur who looked around his San Diego home one day last summer and realized how much his family’s belongings were weighing him down. Thus began what he calls the 100 Thing Challenge. (Apparently, Bruno is so averse to excess he can’t refer to 100 things in the plural.) In a country where clutter has given rise not only to professional organizers but also to professional organizers with their own reality series (TLC’s Clean Sweep), Bruno’s online musings about his slow and steady purge have developed something of a cult following online, inspiring others to launch their own countdown to clutter-free living.

How to Live With Just 100 Things – TIME.


Oil Price Fallout: Jobs Coming Home?

Oil Price Fallout: Jobs Coming Home?
As shipping costs rise, businesses jump ship.

June 24, 2008 —

As the cost of shipping continues to soar along with fuel prices, homegrown manufacturing jobs are making a comeback after decades of decline.

While it once cost $3,000 to ship a container from a city like Shanghai to New York, it now costs $8,000, prompting some businesses to look closer to home for manufacturing needs.

Furniture designer Carol Gregg used to have her signature Chinese chests assembled in China, but such a luxury no longer seems viable, considering that some of her pieces now cost five times more to ship.

So now Gregg is having the chests made in North Carolina, simply because its cheaper.

Some large companies like Crown Battery are cutting expenses by moving jobs from Mexico to Ohio. And hair care company Farouk Systems plans to shift all of its production from China to Houston this summer, bringing with it 1,000 jobs.

Globalization, in Reverse

The rise in transportation costs are fueling what some economists are calling “reverse globalization.” For instance, DESA, a company that makes heaters to keep football players warm, is moving all its production back to Kentucky after years of having them made in China.

“Cheap labor in China doesn’t help you when you gotta pay so much to bring the goods over,” says economist Jeff Rubin.

Oil Price Fallout: Jobs Coming Home?.


Tips for Staying Safe at the Beach

Excerpted from Healthy Beaches (

For recent beach closings and information on how to find out if your favorite swimming spot is currently home to unsafe levels of bacteria, see the EPA’s Beach Advisory and Closing on-line Notification (BEACON) site and Earth911’s Beach Water Quality pages. Beaches that aren’t listed may not be monitored regularly.

* Swallowing water is the most frequent way swimmers are exposed to bacteria, so keep your head above the waves.

* Avoid swimming near flowing stormdrain outlets, outfalls or runoff ditches. A study of Santa Monica beaches found that swimmers near stormdrains had a 57 percent greater chance of fever than those swimming over 400 yards away.

* Don’t swim alone and don’t dive into water you haven’t been in previously.

* Don’t swim after a heavy rain or near trash.

* Keep an eye on the waves-don’t be caught unawares by large ones.

* Shower after visiting the beach.

* Disinfect cuts or abrasions to avoid infection.

* Those with suppressed immune systems should be checked for cuts both before and after swimming.

To help preserve the health of our beaches:

* Some chemical preservatives and stabilizers in sunscreens can damage coral reefs. For reef-safe lotions, see our Sunscreen Buying Guide.

* To protect your beach, contact the Surfrider Foundation (

* Since the stormwater runoff accounted for the majority of closures, support measures to reduce runoff in your community.


The Myth of Multitasking

In one of the many letters he wrote to his son in the 1740s, Lord Chesterfield offered the following advice: “There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.” To Chesterfield, singular focus was not merely a practical way to structure one’s time; it was a mark of intelligence. “This steady and undissipated attention to one object, is a sure mark of a superior genius; as hurry, bustle, and agitation, are the never-failing symptoms of a weak and frivolous mind.”

In modern times, hurry, bustle, and agitation have become a regular way of life for many people—so much so that we have embraced a word to describe our efforts to respond to the many pressing demands on our time: multitasking. Used for decades to describe the parallel processing abilities of computers, multitasking is now shorthand for the human attempt to do simultaneously as many things as possible, as quickly as possible, preferably marshalling the power of as many technologies as possible.

The New Atlantis » The Myth of Multitasking.