You can take steps to overturn burdensome sales tax laws

Guest Commentary from the Aug. 25, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , chief operating officer of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets.
Published : 08/15/14
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Although the state legislatures have adjourned sine die and the sultry days of summer are nearly behind us, a consortium of numismatic businesses is not resting on its laurels when it comes to efforts to introduce legislation exempting rare coins, paper currency, and precious metals from their states’ sales and use taxes. That is good news, because many state legislatures have interim committee meetings post-session to discuss specific issues or upcoming legislative agendas.

Recently, David Hendrickson (SilverTowne) and John Feigenbaum (David Lawrence Rare Coins) asked the Industry Council for Tangible Assets to help their respective states, Indiana and Virginia, join the ranks of states that have sales and use tax exemptions for rare coins, currency, and precious metals. Presently, 31 states have such exemptions.

Earlier this year Nebraska passed a sales-tax exemption bill on rare coins and precious-metal products, and Oklahoma amended its sales-tax exemption law to remove the qualification that sales of gold, silver, platinum, palladium, or other bullion items must be stored within a recognized depository facility after purchase. Five states do not have a sales and use tax at all. The other 26 states, including large-population states like California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas, have successfully taken action to add an exemption.

Feigenbaum and Hendrickson understand that their businesses cannot expect to sell significant quantities of rare coins, paper currency, or precious metals to Indiana and Virginia residents, who are most likely purchasing these items in neighboring states (Maryland, Illinois, and Michigan) that already have exemptions.

Hendrickson is leading other Indiana coin-company owners in a united effort to put the state on equal footing with other Midwestern states that already have an exemption. “Our state has been at an economic disadvantage for too long,” Hendrickson said. “We plan to work with our elected representatives to aggressively pursue an exemption for Indiana consumers during the 2015 legislative session.”

The Virginia effort to convince state legislatures to pass an exemption is being spearheaded by Feigenbaum, along with several other coin-business owners. “We expect everyone’s sales to grow significantly with an exemption,” Feigenbaum said. 

“Then, our company can focus on increasing its staff and office space instead of considering relocating to a tax-friendly state.”

To help each of these states get a bill through its legislature, ICTA is putting its knowledge base behind a straightforward strategy: have a simple bill; get a good, strong sponsor; get the bill submitted early; hire a good lobbyist; get grassroots help; start an early and aggressive education campaign; and get media coverage.

“Enacting an exemption on rare coins, currency, and precious metals is not a new concept. ICTA has been helping its members for years to successfully undertake and accomplish such a task,” Industry Affairs Director Diane Piret said. 

If your state does not have an exemption, why not take the initiative, as Feigenbaum and Hendrickson have done, to join the ranks of the states with exemptions? 

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