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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There is a notice on aquabid about permits being needed to import or transport plants in the US. Do I need a permit to buy aquarium plants from the SnS, Aquabid, or Ebay?
 

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Propagating for the purpose of sale requires a license and permits for each species grown along with inspection of the facilities twice a year. The cost in my state to register is $140.00 a year. The cost in PITA isn't worth it.
Aren't you glad your a hobbyist? (I AM :smile:)
 

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So if someone (even a hobbyist) grows plants in their tanks and sells them for profit, does that mean they need a permit?
Only if the express purpose for growing the plants is to sell them. If you are just selling your clippings that would of been tossed anyways you shouldn't need one.
 

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Unfortunately federal restrictions on aquatic plants are probably not too far down the road and this will hobble the plant hobby pretty bad.
 

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So if someone (even a hobbyist) grows plants in their tanks and sells them for profit, does that mean they need a permit?
If you count your time and expenses then NO WAY! its a profit.

OK, here's the skinny for MY STATE. (second time posting this.) Researched it trying to hobby farm.
The laws SUCK! and doesn't see any difference between 2 tanks in our living room and 200 acres of open ponds.

Current rules/laws this year are posted in my reply to this.

Selling/trading plants and in house raised fish I've broken even on food costs for the year is my best return to date. 1/2 of what leaves my house goes for free though LOL. I've given away a ton of plants, over 100 baby angels locally and 35 LFABN for the cost of shipping. Pay it forward kinda.
Selling for profit requires a License (or two) for fish alone and you don't even want to know whats involved to legally produce and sell plants including annual inspection of the 'facilities'. OMG! started to and ran like hell after looking.

"The Division of Plant Industry requires the registration of all nurseries (as well as nursery stock dealers, agents, and plant brokers) and conducts inspections of nursery stock several times each year. Inspections of plants in nurseries substantially increases the probability of intercepting or detecting a serious pest before it becomes established or widely distributed."

Hobby farming is impossible anymore.
Plants are out of the question for me after looking into it.

Fish;
Proper documentation in my state requires $140.00 in annual license fees each year. (same aqua ag) If I sell an average of 6 pleco per shipment. Add shipping expense to the overall price, food, equipment, maintenance time. Just to break even on out the door its going to take a bunch to show "profit" above pennies in house.

Store credit is a win/win small time.

Our community is the United States. State laws on Aqua Ag follow federal guidelines. No way to grow plants for cash transactions / profit (imo) without acres of grow farm as the same legal blah, blah applies to our tank raised portions. Each species has to be pre-approved and sold quantities reported quarterly. I gave up on plants regarding sales. SnS and the kindly pass along to my LFS for credit or good will but no receipt thank you for me.

Fish can be imported and sold fairly cheaply being 'legal' transactions.
Breeding is another mess. The minute aquatic life is 'created' in your 'facility' Aqua culture laws/licenses apply. Same as a fish farm to the Gov. open pond or tank in your living room.

My current loop holes :biggrin:. (I hope that I continue to smile)
As long as I don't receive more than $500.00 from a single individual annually. I'm not obligated to report it as a business transaction for reporting income.
With a fish wholesale / importer license I can sell for cash (not credit) to LFS and ship out of state.
I'll whine but I bought a wholesale / importer license.

(?Breeding?who breeds?) If fish arrive in my 'facility' pregnant is that my fault?

This information was gained by contacting the departments in Tallahassee via phone and receiving small business guide packages through the mail after requesting them.

As I posted before,,, be happy as a "HOBBYIST" (it's free sort of LOL)

By the way OP,,, every package you receive in the mail from out of state that doesn't include sales tax collected from you - YOUR suppose to voluntarily pay sales tax on it by self reporting the transaction. hahahaha

Bottom line on all the blah blah above is keep transactions under $499.00 from a single individual annually and your not breaking the law because its not a biz :smile:
luv th gov (not) but enjoy th' hobby
 

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I took a look at a few of the customs declarations from the online plant orders I've made from overseas...... "home ornaments"
 

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Legally, when you are purchasing plants from overseas the government if it intercepts a package can fine you for importing plants. You don't get photo sanitary certificates from the overseas sellers on Aquabid. As DBH says, they title the items as "home ornaments, home goods etc"

They break the law, but you purchased goods without the license to import. The fine is less then $500.00

Kinda silly to be buying from them, when people in the SNS give better portions.
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Wkndracer, You can't deduct the amount of time spent trying to make money. You can deduct your expenses (Electric, supplies, stock, mileage, postage) If you make a dollar you have to pay taxes.

Just because its not considered a small business doesn't mean you don't have to pay federal income tax. Seriously. Do you really want them to audit you for three years of taxes?

False Return - Tax may be assessed at any time, without limitation.
Willful attempt to avoid tax - Tax may be assessed at any time, without limitation.

Keep track of your profits how ever little they may be.
 

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Wkndracer, You can't deduct the amount of time spent trying to make money. You can deduct your expenses (Electric, supplies, stock, mileage, postage) If you make a dollar you have to pay taxes.

Just because its not considered a small business doesn't mean you don't have to pay federal income tax. Seriously. Do you really want them to audit you for three years of taxes?

False Return - Tax may be assessed at any time, without limitation.
Willful attempt to avoid tax - Tax may be assessed at any time, without limitation.

Keep track of your profits how ever little they may be.
People owner / operating work for free? , strange idea that.

I'm currently employed by a large corp. but prior to that I worked outage maintenance via union contract along with running of a Florida based C corp., then a sub S. Every time I answered a phone or sat at the desk I was paid.
Since accepting my current employment, selling the one and closing the other my accounting bill has been less but is still handled by a CPA. Three times last year I consulted for separate companies and indeed mentioned this to the CPA. This work was preformed for legitimate companies and I was compensated by company checks that above the $500 threshold would have been 1099 reported above that threshold. As an individual I would report that also, below I followed recommendation.

If its labor applied to a hobby its free, if its a licensed for profit its a business and being business funny but I've always been paid. Last time I was stupid enough to look at the ratio 53% of every dollar I earned was nothing but tax paid in one form or another. No more employees and no more BS at the moment.
 

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wkndracer: great post

As far as buying plants overseas on ebay aquabid:

1. I've done it without anxiety numerous times knowing that the sellers are technically violating US customs law. Never had a problem in over 20+ transactions. Look at the feedback: intl sellers would have >98% positive feedback if customers were getting fined when they order plants.

2. If you do get caught the customs officials will most likely waive any fees as long as it isn't a wholesale order and you agree to forfeit the goods.

3. I used to work with a guy who worked for customs at Newark Airport. According to him, so long as the cargo isn't something that can potentially kill, inebriate or confer substantial economic gains to US citizens, they really don't care what it is. I don't think aquarium plants will are commonly used as poisons, intoxicants or as a means for substantial wealth creation.

He did however mention that once someone is caught or the packaging is obviously terrible (fluids leaking, discernible odors, etc.) immediate red flags go up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I went ahead and called my city's wildlife and fish department; they said I don't need any special permit to breed non-exotic fish (apparently, oscars and pacu are exotic, but killifish and shrimp aren't), but I do need a business license to sell. I wasn't able to get info about plants, but all I need for fish is a business license if I sell. In order to get a business license, I have to get a letter from the engineering department saying it's okay to work out of my home, and pay the $50 license fee. The annual renewal fee is based off of profits, or at least $50.

So, $50 and a letter and I'm good to go.

I encourage anyone else with questions about this to grab a phonebook and contact their city's department of wildlife and fisheries and the finance department. Especially if you're young like me and you don't know when in your future you'll need a clean record.
 

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wkndracer: great post

As far as buying plants overseas on ebay aquabid:

2. If you do get caught the customs officials will most likely waive any fees as long as it isn't a wholesale order and you agree to forfeit the goods.

3. I used to work with a guy who worked for customs at Newark Airport. According to him, so long as the cargo isn't something that can potentially kill, inebriate or confer substantial economic gains to US citizens, they really don't care what it is. I don't think aquarium plants will are commonly used as poisons, intoxicants or as a means for substantial wealth creation.

He did however mention that once someone is caught or the packaging is obviously terrible (fluids leaking, discernible odors, etc.) immediate red flags go up.

If you do get caught, it wouldn't matter if it was wholesale or not. If it is not declared one could recieve a penalty starting at $300.00:icon_conf

Adding on to what the customs inspector said; When dealing with commercial importation of plant products, the concern is economical and preventative. Generally, one would require a permit just to import plants. Once the plants reach the port of entry into the country, it would be inspected by USDA for any foreign diseases or pest. Most plant species are allowed so there wouldn't be a problem. However, plants like Hygrophilia polysperma and Limnophila sessiliflora are banned because even though they look beautiful in our aquariums, it is a weed that can grow uncontrollably. Long story short, the easiest thing to do if you want to import commercially is to just get a broker. They are specialized in these kinds of imports.:proud:
 

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wkndracer: great post

As far as buying plants overseas on ebay aquabid:

1. I've done it without anxiety numerous times knowing that the sellers are technically violating US customs law. Never had a problem in over 20+ transactions. Look at the feedback: intl sellers would have >98% positive feedback if customers were getting fined when they order plants.

2. If you do get caught the customs officials will most likely waive any fees as long as it isn't a wholesale order and you agree to forfeit the goods.

3. I used to work with a guy who worked for customs at Newark Airport. According to him, so long as the cargo isn't something that can potentially kill, inebriate or confer substantial economic gains to US citizens, they really don't care what it is. I don't think aquarium plants will are commonly used as poisons, intoxicants or as a means for substantial wealth creation.

He did however mention that once someone is caught or the packaging is obviously terrible (fluids leaking, discernible odors, etc.) immediate red flags go up.
I was buying plants overseas several times for a little over 1 year on international ebay sellers. Until my moss from Malaysian ebay seller was confiscated by USDA. The customs send me a note that the moss was confiscated.

I stopped buying plants overseas eversince.
 
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