Chairman's Message

Philip N. Diehl

As ICTA has accepted new challenges, we have continued to make progress on other fronts that have been at the core of our mission for years. These accomplishments tend to be overlooked as we focus attention on our anti-counterfeiting initiative and the fight against legislation in Congress that would free states to tax interstate sales of our products. That’s unfortunate, because ICTA devotes a great deal of time and resources to other projects that produce a significant return on the dues ICTA members pay each year.

For example, ICTA has worked for many years to protect and expand state and local sales-tax exemptions for our products. These taxes cripple the market for dealers who sell within their home states and any states in which they have a physical presence. We are always vigilant for any legislation that would impose new sales taxes or raise existing taxes on our businesses. Because many states are struggling to balance their budgets, we are always ready to mobilize to defeat these measures before they gain momentum. It’s a very big job covering 50 states.

As you can imagine, the budget challenges most states face these days creates an especially difficult environment for expanding state and local sales-tax exemptions, but that has not stopped ICTA from trying. Against all odds, over the past 16 months we’ve had five notable successes on this front, and as a result, 36 states have sales-tax exemptions of one form or another on our products.

North Carolina

On July 25,Governor Roy Cooper signed into law House Bill 434 granting a complete sales-and-use tax exemption on coins, currency, and precious-metals bullion sales. Mitch Hyatt (Hyatt Coin Shop), supported by ICTA treasurer Pat Heller and chief operating officer David Crenshaw, launched their campaign for the exemption in the fall of 2016. They hired a lobbyist, met with state tax officials, and recruited sponsors in the state house and senate.

As we do in every state, ICTA promoted the sales-tax exemption as a jobs and economic-development issue with legislators. Pat Heller has developed persuasive support for our arguments, and most legislators come to recognize the benefits sales-tax exemptions provide to their state’s investors and collectors as well as in-state dealers and other businesses, and out-of-state dealers who attend coin shows in the state.

Louisiana

On June 23, 2017, Governor John Bel Edwards signed into law HB 396 restoring a tax exemption for sales of gold, silver, or numismatic coins, and platinum, gold, or silver bullion; the exemption had been suspended in 2015 in the face of a major budget crisis. The Louisiana Professional Coin Dealers Association, led by Malcolm Self, Louis Pizzolatto, and Ritchie Self, supported by ICTA lobbyist Randy Haynie, succeeded in restoring this exemption in what was probably the toughest state budget environment in the country. The exemption became effective on October 1, 2017.

Minnesota

On May 30, 2017, Governor Mark Dayton signed into law omnibus bill H1A, which included a sales-tax exemption on precious-metals bullion. The exemption became effective on July 1, 2017. Gary Adkins (David Lawrence Rare Coins), with the assistance of Lee Orr, Bill Himmelwright (PQ Coins, Minneapolis, MN), and ICTA staff, led a multi-year effort to enact the exemption.

Virginia

On February 22, 2017, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed VA HB 1668, expanding Virginia’s sales-and-use tax exemption to include legal tender coins, effective January 1, 2018. Virginia sunsets all tax exemptions, so the law is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2022. No doubt, when the time comes, ICTA will be working to extend the exemption. John Brush, president of David Lawrence Rare Coins, supported by Bill Hoovler, president of the Rappahannock Area Coin Club, and ICTA staff led the campaign in Virginia.

Ohio

On June 14, 2016, Governor John Kasich signed into law SB 172, which provides a sales-tax exemption on rare coins and precious-metals bullion. The new law took effect on January 1, 2017.

Enactment of SB 172 was the culmination of nine years of work that was launched by Brad Karoleff, Charlie Kepnes, David Miholer, and Dick Frost. Jeff Longstreth, executive director of the Ohio Precious Metals Association (OPMA), picked up the baton in 2013 and succeeded in getting a tax exemption bill to Governor Kasich’s desk, only to see it struck by a line-item veto from the governor. Undeterred, Jeff championed the exemption again in 2015, and with the support of Ohio dealers Brad Karoleff and David Miholer, along with Pat Heller and ICTA’s executive director, Kathy McFadden, saw the legislation passed and signed by the governor.

The tax exemptions enacted in these five states were the result of efforts by a few people who received crucial support from ICTA. This is typical. Many dealers, and their customers, benefit from the hundreds of hours and many thousands of dollars invested by others on their behalf. The only way we can sustain these efforts is if you step forward and accept a share of the burden. ICTA has a dues category that anyone, even the smallest dealer, investor, or collector, can afford.

If you are not a member, I urge you to join, today. If you know someone who should be a member but isn’t, I urge you to encourage them to join. And if you’re already a member of ICTA, I ask you to take a look at our dues structure and see if you can move up a level.  Our work depends on you.