- Days left

Handmade toys may soon be too expensive for U.S. consumers

For Christmas last year, I bought my boys all handmade wooden toys. There were the delightful and pricey trucks from England; sweet round shields from here in Portland, Ore.; and the castle pieces made in Vermont. This year I'm planning to get a few more trucks, a dragon, and a couple of princes and princesses from the same Vermont toymaker. Next year? Maybe I'll make my own. Because in order to comply with the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) (an act which generally does lovely things, such as ban the manufacture of toys with lead and phthalates and ban their importation into the U.S.), all toymakers must pay a testing fee of $4,000 per type of toy they make, as well as permanently labeling them with a batch number and date (requiring them to create new molds in many cases).

The effects of this fee, while barely felt by huge toymakers such as Mattel and Hasbro, will be to all but destroy the thriving handmade toy industry in the U.S. and, for many importers, end their relationships with U.S. consumers. German wood toy maker Selecta Spielzeug has already announced its intention to pull its toys from the U.S. market, effective December 31. In a statement, the company said its retail prices would have to increase "by at least 50 percent, which would price these products out of the market." Small toymakers, such as the little company which sells wooden shields at a wholesale price of $7, would be out of business, as would nearly every other small American, Canadian and European toy company, according to the Handmade Toy Alliance. What's more, it could decimate Etsy, a marketplace for handmade goods.

As if this weren't enough bad news for toy buyers, the CPSIA only bans the manufacture of new toys containing lead and phthalates, but allows retailers to continue selling toys made before the act's effective date, February 10, 2009; prompting a lawsuit by consumer groups asking to close the loophole. Small toy makers, Waldorf-style toy retailers, and parents who love handmade toys are all getting involved in activism asking for a way to let what is, ironically, a reaction to toxic toys -- consumers embracing hand made wooden and cloth alternatives -- survive. I'm upset about this development, as I have loved involving my children in the economy of small, loving handcrafters rather than the toy industry that's so many times betrayed us.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

How to Buy a Car

How to get the best deal and buy a car with confidence.

View Course »

Timing Your Spending

How to pay less by changing when you purchase.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Video: How to Claim the Affordable Care Act Premium Tax Credit (Obamacare)

The Affordable Care Act Premium Tax Credit is a new refundable tax credit that can lower your monthly health insurance premiums. If you qualify for the tax credit, you can claim the Premium Tax Credit throughout the year to lower your monthly health insurance premiums, or claim the credit with your tax return to either lower your overall tax bill or increase your tax refund.

Cities With the Highest and Lowest Taxes

Geography has a lot to do with personal finance, and where you live in the United States has an impact on your annual tax burden. While federal income taxes are assessed in a consistent manner coast to coast, state and municipal taxes, such as sales and property taxes, vary widely.

When the IRS Classifies Your Business as a Hobby

If your business claims a net loss for too many years, or fails to meet other requirements, the IRS may classify it as a hobby, which would prevent you from claiming a loss related to the business. If the IRS classifies your business as a hobby, you'll have to prove that you had a valid profit motive if you want to claim those deductions.

Hurricane Sandy Tax Relief

Several tax provisions were put in effect to help taxpayers who live or do business in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy - but a number of those provisions expired on Feb. 1, 2013.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum