Lest you think Dr. Yarn let us down, let me set the record straight. He delivered his column per our contract well before January ended; indeed, he shared a draft with me over the holidays.
I let him, and his readers, down by not getting it edited and published. I hope the quality of his insights which I now share will assuage some of the frustration I’m sure you have been feeling.
This question just came in from a reader from Virginia.
Q. What is this I hear about a special tax on knitting?
A. I’m sorry to say that what you heard is true. I was invited to a closed-door, by-partisan* hearing in Washington on the Fourth of July, of all times. Our Congress is so desperate to balance the budget that some members are considering taxing anything they can get away with.
A five percent tax on yarn patterns, a ten percent tax on needles, and a fifteen percent tax on domestic yarn were discussed. Imported yarn would be taxed at twenty percent! (Note the use of passive voice, a true indicator that someone is trying to get away with something.)
Devastating to knitters who depend on travel knitting to stay calm on extended trip, it was suggested that our country levy a tax on any yarn that left the country. To make it worse, if you knitted something while on vacation overseas, there would be a value-added tax when you returned to this country! (Though this would depend on the choice of pattern - some decrease the value of the yarn they are knit in, we must admit.)
I am not naming names, but the idea to start an annual tax on one’s yarn inventory could seriously impact several of my readers**. Such a tax would undoubtedly hurt the economy - conscientious knitters would reduce yarn inventory thus causing a slow down in yarn sales.
One senator suggested a simple but disturbing approach. He proposed adding check-off boxes to each 1040 income tax form that ask if you — never knit, — only occasionally knit, or — were a Knitter with a capital K. This would result in a zero, five percent, or fifteen percent additional tax, respectively, on page 2, line 44, of your adjusted taxable income.
I soon realized that these legislators were completely out-of-touch. During Q&A I asked for a show of hands of the members of Congress who have actually knitted. Not a hand went up!
Think about that. It makes you wonder what kind of people we are sending to Washington, doesn’t it? . I encourage you to subscribe to our new publication, Knitter’s Voice. We will keep you posted on who is on our list to vote out of office in 2012. We love single issue politics here (really, who doesn’t?), and anyone who doesn’t want to tax the rich but is perfectly willing to tax poor knitters will make that list.
Thank you for your timely question,
*This is not a typo. I am not referring to a hearing held by both parties; rather, to a hearing held behind closed doors to get it by any objections of partisans of knitting. Yes, I agree, quite the nefarious strategy.
** Tax tip in case this is enacted: Hide your inventory in the trunk of several Cadillacs, or perhaps knit some pullover V-neck vests out of it and avoid some of the taxation.
P.S. One extension I won’t get is to the end of the Iknitarod - the fiber challenge to complete a significant project during the course of the great sled dog race, the Iditarod. I’ve cast on for the vest I am required to knit for the Master Knitter Level II certification program. Believe it or not, though my stash is large enough to trigger my immediate subscription for Knitter’s Voice, as I sure can’t afford that stash tax, I did not own enough of the “smooth, light-colored, non-heathered ” yarn required. I ran out and got some nice simple Cascade 220 in a periwinkle that I hope is light enough. It is definitely smooth and non-heathered.