New Louisiana Coins and Precious-Metals Bullion Exemption Enacted

2002 Louisiana Quarter. United States Mint image.Last year, the Louisiana legislature, facing a $900 million deficit, held a special legislative session and increased Louisiana’s 4% sales tax to 5%. In addition to increasing the state sales tax, it eliminated nearly all tax exemptions and exclusions—including numismatic coins and precious-metals bullion exemptions—for three months, from April 1 through June 30.

Beginning July 1, 2016, all the exemptions became effective again. Under this partial exemption, the state sales tax was reduced from 5% to 3% on all numismatic coins and precious-metals bullion sales from July 1, 2016, until June 30, 2018. Legislative discussions are underway to extend this current tax until 2022.

Over the next 24 months, each exempt group must demonstrate that the state will be better off financially if the group regains its exemption. The Louisiana Professional Coin Dealers Association spearheaded the battle—with leadership from Malcolm Self, Louis Pizzolatto, and Ritchie Self, along with ICTA—to remove numismatic coins and precious-metals bullion from the “special tax” that went into effect on April 1, 2016.

Louisiana representative Stephen Dwight introduced House Bill 396: Provides for the effectiveness and applicability of the state sales and use tax exclusion for sales of gold, silver, or numismatic coins, and platinum, gold, or silver bullion on March 31, 2017. Representative Mark Abraham coauthored the bill. Four other bills were introduced to accomplish the same goal: House Bill 127, by Representative Larry Bagley and Representative Mark Abraham; Senate Bill 31, by Senator Jean-Paul Morrell; and Senate Bill 202 and Senate Bill 203, by Senator Gary Smith, with a strategy to pass one instrument.

On June 23, 2017, Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards signed into law HB 396. The new law will take effect on October 1, 2017.

“Convincing our colleagues in the House and Senate of the exemption’s importance was not an easy task,” said the bill’s lead author, Representative Dwight. “The collaborative efforts of coauthors Representative Mark Abraham, Representative Larry Bagley, Senator Jean-Paul Morrell, and Senator Gary Smith convinced them, which resulted in getting the bill passed and signed by the governor.”

“Louisiana coin businesses owe Representatives Dwight, Abraham, and Bagley and Senators Morrell and Smith a debt of gratitude for their leadership pushing the bill through the legislature,” said Louisiana Professional Coin Dealers president Louis Pizzolatto. “We’re also grateful to the legislature for exempting all coin shows in our state and for exempting numismatic coins valued under $1,000 sold in our stores. Louisiana is now eligible to host a large national coin show such as the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money.”

“We are very pleased that the Louisiana exemption is now restored,” said ICTA executive director Kathy McFadden. “We thank the Louisiana Professional Coin Dealers Association, lobbyist Randy K. Haynie, Louisiana representative Paul Hollis, ICTA legislative consultant and former U.S. congressman Jimmy Hayes (Washington Matters), ICTA members, and everyone who helped make this exemption a reality.”

Language for Louisiana’s new law:

Section 1. R.S. 47:301(16)(b)(ii) and 302(AA)(introductory paragraph) are hereby amended and reenacted and R.S. 47:302(AA)(29) and 321.1(F)(67) are hereby enacted to read as follows:
§ 301. Definitions
As used in this Chapter the following words, terms, and phrases have the meaning ascribed to them in this Section, unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
(16)
(b) The term "tangible personal property" shall not include:
(aa) Platinum, gold, or silver bullion, that is valued solely upon its precious metal content, whether in coin or ingot form.
(bb) Numismatic coins that have a sales price of no more than one thousand dollars.
(cc) Numismatic coins sold at a national, statewide, or multi-parish numismatic trade show.
§ 302. Imposition of tax
(ii) Solely for purposes of sales and use taxes imposed by the state under R.S. 47:302, 321, and 331, gold, silver, or numismatic coins, or platinum, gold, or silver bullion.
AA. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section to the contrary, except Paragraph (29) of this Subsection, beginning July 1, 2016, the following specific exclusions and exemptions shall be applicable to the tax levied pursuant to the provisions of this Section:
(29) Beginning October 1, 2017:
(a) Sales and purchases of platinum, gold, or silver bullion, that is valued solely upon its precious metal content, whether in coin or ingot form as provided in R.S. 47:301(16)(b)(ii)(aa).
(b) Numismatic coins that have a sales price of no more than one thousand dollars as provided in R.S. 47:301(16)(b)(ii)(bb).
(c) Numismatic coins sold at a national, statewide, or multi-parish numismatic trade show as provided in R.S. 47:301(16)(b)(ii)(cc).
§ 321.1. Imposition of Tax
F. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, including but not limited to any contrary provision of this Chapter, there shall be no exemptions or exclusions as defined in R.S. 47:301 to the tax levied pursuant to the provisions of this Section, except for the sales or purchases of the following items:
(66) Beginning July 1, 2016, in addition to those exclusions and exemptions provided for in Paragraphs (1) through (65) of this Subsection, the following exclusions and exemptions shall be allowable for purposes of the tax levied pursuant to the provisions of this Section:
(67) Beginning October 1, 2017:
(a) Sales of platinum, gold, and silver bullion, that is valued solely upon its precious metal content, whether in coin or ingot form as provided in R.S. 47:301(16)(b)(ii)(aa).
(b) Numismatic coins that have a sales price of no more than one thousand dollars as provided in R.S. 47:301(16)(b)(ii)(bb).
(c) Numismatic coins sold at a national, statewide, or multi-parish numismatic trade show as provided in R.S. 47:301(16)(b)(ii)(cc).