2021 Q1

Association News

Welcome New Members!

(And thank you, referrers!)

The following joined NCBA between January 1 and March 31, 2021:

Silver ($2,500)
Griselda Novak, Orion Precious Metals, Inc. (Los Angeles, CA); referred by Kevin Demeritt

Copper ($500)
Christian Antonelli, Atlas Rare Coins (Holbrook, NY); referred by Harry Miller
Dale White, dbkj numismatics (Fort Smith, AR)
Haneen Hamideh, Precious Elements Jewelry & Coin (Chandler, AZ); referred by CDN Publishing

Basic ($300)
Robert Du Charme, Big Bear Coin & Collectible (Mukwonago, WI)
Kale Wetherell, Big Sky Coins (Helena, MT); referred by CCE
Ernest Botte, EBW Coin (Wilmington, MA)
Jake Springer, Family Coin & Jewelry (North Chesterfield, VA); referred by CDHCD
Keith Wolfe, Historic Treasures (Mt. Airy, NC)
Barry Tatum, Texican Rare Coin (Tyler, TX)
Patrick York, TX Coins (Arlington, TX); referred by Derek Vinson

Consumer Patron ($25 or more)
Steven Frazer (Indianapolis, IN)
Philip Moore (Northridge, CA)

Member-Get-A-Member Challenge

Do you have colleagues who you think should join NCBA? Participate in our Member-Get-A-Member Challenge! We know our current members are the best possible resource for finding new members who could benefit from all that NCBA offers.

CLICK HERE to learn more.

Thank You, Donors!

The following made financial contributions between January 1 and March 31, 2021:

Florida United Numismatists (Lake Monroe, FL)

Message from the executive director David Crenshaw

The time has come to specify the mission of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets in our branding, including our name and logo. We do not represent the broad range of collectible tangible assets that our name implies, which could include anything from antiques to postage stamps to memorabilia to fine wines, and much more.

Our association has been dedicated to the numismatic and precious-metals bullion communities for its more than 36 years of existence. During that time, we have been promoting and safeguarding the interests of our members and serving as the numismatic industry watchdog over federal and state governments in the United States to maintain a favorable legislative and regulatory climate. Over the years we have grown to better address the needs that have always been our focus:

  1. Providing a medium through which our members may confer, consult, cooperate with, and educate government and other agencies to achieve solutions for problems that affect their businesses
  2. Offering our members assistance and information on new and existing laws and regulations, and promoting harmony and cooperation among our members to advance the welfare of the numismatic and precious-metals bullion communities

Our brand now needs to be updated to emphasize that work. We are revamping our current branding to clarify the communities we serve—collectors of, and dealers and investors in, numismatics and precious-metals bullion. With that comes a new name, new logo, new colors, and a new look and feel. This will include our social media, email marketing, and even our website, to build a cohesive style and voice that consistently reflects our brand and our target communities. These changes will be gradual, rolling out over the next few months.

Most importantly, our core mission will remain the same. Who we are has not changed. We have been supporting our members and the community at large for well over three decades, helping to maintain a favorable legislative and regulatory environment for doing business, and we will continue to be the place with the resources and guidance collectors and dealers need to do business under the existing laws and regulations. That is still who we are and what we care about. With that, we would like to introduce you to the National Coin & Bullion Association!

We are also proud to introduce our new logo.

ncba logo

The logo has three components: the symbol, the logotype, and the slogan. The symbol, a Capitol dome, represents our work advocating for top priorities and fair business practices to legislators and agencies nationwide. It is surrounded by a circle of stars to imply strength and stability. The logotype, NATIONAL COIN & BULLION ASSOC, and the slogan, “TAXATION ∙ ADVOCACY ∙ EDUCATION,” surround that and convey the three themes in our mission statement. The design is done in patriotic colors and a blue font, to indicate the scope of our activity.

In the coming months, you will see the new NCBA logo being used prominently. It will be used on our new website and it will appear on our various forms of marketing. That is right—our website got a makeover! A modern, professional look, with a responsive design that renders well on mobile devices and is easy to navigate.

With a signed logo-usage agreement, members may use a special version of this logo (to be determined) to display on their websites, advertising, business cards, and the like. Fully implementing a change like this takes time, so there may be some instances where you will see the old logo being used for a while yet.

Last, but not least, we wish to thank all the board members that submitted ideas for a new name. Director Max Spiegel’s name idea was selected by the executive committee. A special thank you also to Heritage Auctions numismatic marketing manager Denice Brackemyre and senior art director Chris Britton for designing the new logo.

(We will continue to use the “Industry Council for Tangible Assets” as the registered business name; we’ve filed a “doing business as” (DBA) for the National Coin & Bullion Association.)

Message from the chair John Brush

It is hard to believe that it has been over a year since we have had a major coin show event. But with the number of vaccines being produced and getting used, the light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter. While the next major show is likely to be the Summer FUN in July or possibly the ANA World’s Fair of Money in August, our organization has already been extremely busy in 2021. As expected, we are facing battles in several states that are looking to repeal sales-tax exemptions, but we are also fighting for new exemptions to get passed as well. As previous readers know, we expected to see these issues pop up in 2021, but thankfully the news has been mostly good so far! Unfortunately, we are a very small team fighting what has become a national issue, but so far, we have been able to manage the issues as they appear. As members, we ask that you continue to notify us if you hear of any legislation popping up in your state, and we encourage you to reach out to us with any questions that you might have as well. While we are physically apart right now, we can still work together as an organization!

Our leadership has also been busy rebranding ICTA, to tighten our focus and mission to what the organization has focused on since the beginning: numismatics and precious-metals bullion. We hope this will also help potential members better recognize and relate to our organization’s goals. As you will see in this issue, the executive committee and board worked together to develop a new name, which we are thrilled to unveil in this issue. In addition, we have revised our logo to match our new name and refocused mission. We would like to thank the folks at Heritage Auctions for helping us with the new logo design! We are grateful for all the support and input that was given on this project. Next up is a redesign of the website. We are working diligently on that, and we hope to have that ready by the time you are reading this newsletter or shortly afterwards! While the pandemic has certainly changed our projects and how we work, we are excited to offer this organizational makeover as we enter the new post-pandemic world. We still have the biggest fight ahead of us—Wayfair—and we think that making the mission of our association more apparent to its current and potential membership is going to be vital to our success as we continue to work towards our common goal.

Most importantly, thank you for your support of ICTA/NCBA! While our name is changing, our mission is not. We will continue to work hard for changes that will not only help our members but the hobby in general. Also, I would like to personally thank the board for their support the last two years. I never expected to be sitting in this chair, and I am honored to have the position renewed for a second term.

Upcoming Events

NCBA takes the health and safety of our members and attendees at our meetings and events seriously. Given the fluid nature of the health concerns relating to COVID-19, a decision will be made no later than June 30 whether to have a board of directors meeting and membership dinner and update in Rosemont, Illinois, on August 11, 2021, or not. We will keep our members posted.

Update Your Member Profile

Stay connected with ICTA through our website at ictaonline.org. We ask that you take a moment to update your member profile via the “Member Login” link. If you do not know your username or password, there are links on the log-in screen to retrieve them. By keeping your member profile up to date, you are guaranteed access to all the exclusive benefits and resources that an ICTA membership offers:

  • Member-only resources specifically for dealers, available online at ictaonline.org
  • Federal and state legislative alerts and other important communications
  • Discounts on valuable cash- and broker-reporting information kits
  • Professional development educational seminars
  • Access to the online Member News quarterly newsletters

Should you need any assistance or have any questions or comments about your membership and/or benefits, please feel free to contact us at (678) 430-3252 or by email at [email protected]

Lawsuits Targeting Companies’ Websites Over ADA Violations

Some members of ICTA have reported that their businesses are currently facing lawsuits because their websites are not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

According to ADA Title III, any businesses that are open to the public and provide goods or commercial services are required to take steps to communicate effectively with consumers with disabilities. As part of that, Title III requires businesses to ensure that their websites are accessible and usable by people with disabilities, including visual, hearing, or motor disabilities.

The current COVID-19 pandemic is making ADA website compliance more important than ever as more businesses push their companies online. Even before the pandemic began, thousands of ADA lawsuits filled court dockets, particularly targeting the retail and food-service industries. This litigation will only increase as more and more businesses build an online presence and more and more consumers turn to e-commerce.

To protect your company, it is critical to take steps toward making your website fully accessible as soon as possible. Here are a few commonly broken ADA regulations:

  • Include alt text for all images—including form buttons—so that screen reader software can easily navigate a website
  • Ensure that users can navigate a site with only a keyboard or only a mouse, if needed
  • Include closed captions and/or transcripts for all video and audio content, clearly linked to the media
  • Documents must be structured in a clear hierarchy with standard header tags and sub-headings

At the very least, business owners should develop a strategy to manage the risk of ADA litigation with their legal counsel.

As a matter of fact, ICTA has taken the first step to have our website accessibility level assessed so we may make it Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and ADA compliant by partnering with accessiBe to update our website.

accessiBe is ICTA’s preferred accessibility solution to automatically make a website ADA and WCAG 2.1 compliant. CLICK HERE to learn more about accessiBe. ICTA will receive commissions when members buy licenses through our affiliate link, so please be sure to use this link: https://accessibe.com/a/sizityv

If your company has been threatened with or is currently facing litigation, please email us at [email protected] to let us know. We will do our best to keep our members apprised of these lawsuits.

Related Guidance

The Muddy Waters of ADA Website Compliance May Become Less Murky in 2019

The ADA Checklist: Website Compliance Guidelines for 2019 in Plain English

ADA Website Compliance in 2020: What’s the Legal Outlook on Web Accessibility?

Web Accessibility Lawsuits: What’s the Current Landscape?

Website accessibility: Is your company at risk for an ADA-compliance lawsuit?

How Will DOJ Enforce Title III of the ADA in a Biden Administration?

Aureus POS Partners with Avalara to Automate Tax Compliance

Customers in the coin and bullion industry now benefit from Avalara’s real-time sales and use tax calculations with the Aureus POS platform

Aureus Point-of-Sale (POS), designed specifically for the coin and bullion industry, announced today it has partnered with Avalara (NYSE:AVLR), a leading provider of tax compliance automation software for businesses of all sizes.

Aureus POS is now part of Avalara's Certified for AvaTax program, which features integrations that perform at the highest level, providing the best possible customer experience. As a result of this partnership, customers can now choose Avalara’s AvaTax to deliver sales and use tax calculations within their existing Aureus POS platform in real time helping to improve accuracy with the complicated tax rules surrounding bullion and coins.

Aureus POS provides the coin and bullion industry with the leading solution to manage inventory, handle estate purchases, process buy and sell transactions, and generate reports. The POS system can be integrated into a professional Aureus-built website which dramatically reduces the work involved in managing a dealer’s online store and will automatically calculate the proper tax to be collected for the sale. The cloud-based system allows for multiple device connectivity to multiple locations and can simultaneously display items on the website, eBay, and Collector’s Corner. All of this is bundled into a simple and user-friendly interface, making it easy for dealers to embrace the industry’s shift to more prominent online sales in a secure, attractive, and profitable way while providing nationwide tax compliance.

We're excited to partner with Avalara to provide our customers with an automated way to calculate sales tax,” said Thomas Barrett, Aureus’ sales and marketing director. “Managing sales tax manually in our industry is very complex and costly; our integration with Avalara helps Aureus customers efficiently achieve compliance so they can get back to business.”

Greg Chapman, senior vice president of partner management at Avalara said, “Aureus understands the needs of its customers, and their POS offering reduces complexity for their customers in many ways. We understand that digitization of business processes is not an option, it is essential; we are proud to offer fast, accurate, and easy tax compliance solutions to our shared customers.”

Aureus POS is now an Avalara Certified partner. Certified partners pass a series of criteria developed by Avalara to ensure the connector's performance and reliability, thereby helping mutual customers benefit from a seamless experience with Avalara's tax compliance solutions. Avalara made the announcement in an earlier press release.

Paying Tax on eBay Purchases

As you may be aware, eBay is now legally required to collect and remit sales tax on behalf of sellers for items shipped to buyers in certain states. Based on applicable tax laws, eBay will calculate, collect, and remit sales tax on behalf of sellers for items shipped to customers.

CLICK HERE for more information.

If you are seeing instances where the sales tax is incorrect for a state, please reach out to Stephen Halupka (Coins, Paper Money, and Bullion) at [email protected] with the following information:

  • Buyer ID
  • Transaction Date
  • Item ID
  • Category: Coins and Paper Money or Bullion
  • Shipping State of Buyer

Essential Resources for Your Business

NCBA provides important information to help you with cash and broker reporting. Copper and above members get a 50% discount off the listed price.

Cash-Reporting Kit ($200): The information provided by NCBA is intended to assist dealers in understanding the regulations on cash reporting and money laundering. This information is designed to be used in conjunction with the advice of your professional tax advisor.

Broker-Reporting Kit ($100): The information provided by NCBA is based on our discussions with the Internal Revenue Service to identify investment-level or other substantial transactions that could generate tax consequences. You should also consult with your tax advisor.

Consumer Information Kit ($50): This information has been produced in response to many questions from consumers regarding what products and circumstances require transactions be reported to the U.S. Department of the Treasury / Internal Revenue Service.

CLICK HERE to order information kits.

Shipping-Insurance Benefit Program

It could not be easier to get extremely competitive rates on shipping insurance for outbound or inbound packages, both domestic and international. Claims are processed promptly for loss, partial loss, or damage, providing peace of mind. Shipments are covered in full with no deductible.

Shipandinsure.com is a benefit program for members of the North American Collectibles Association, and NCBA members receive a $15 discount on NACA membership. The program covers up to $75,000 per shipping order placed online, although higher limits are approved by request. The coverage is through PMA Group, which is A-rated.

Check out the shipandinsure.com website today. The link to join as an NCBA member is on a separate button, giving you the $15 discount on NACA membership. Call (877) 393-5310 for more information and sign up with the NACA today. Start saving immediately on shipping insurance for packages sent by FedEx, UPS, or USPS.

Draw More Exposure for Your Company

Would you like members and visitors to our website to see your company’s message? Would you like to also capture the attention of NCBA members in our newsletter, Member News?

Get your company’s membership to stand out with an advertisement in the advertising carousel and/or Member News. The “Our Sponsors” carousel on our website displays each ad in the rotation for approximately five seconds. A carousel advertisement is a free benefit for Bronze-level members and above. Advertising in Member News, which is sent to all NCBA members every quarter, is also a great way to get your message out.

CLICK HERE for more information.

ICTA/NCBA in the News

“Washington State Coin Dealer Dan Duncan Receives ICTA Service Award,” CoinUpdate.com, February 8, 2021; CoinWeek.com, February 8, 2021; Greysheet.com, February 8, 2021

Developments in Coin, Bullion Sales Tax Exemptions,” NumismaticNews.net, February 19, 2021

Not Receiving Our Emails?

Typically, when members don’t see our emails in their inboxes, it’s due to junk-mail and spam filtering by their Internet service provider and/or email software. Check your email’s spam or junk folders and add [email protected] to your email’s contacts or address book so future emails get through. If you still don’t see our emails, please contact us at [email protected], so we may further investigate.

States' News

Alabama

In the summer of 2016, Phil Darby (J & P Coins and Currency) and Steve Caiola (Alabama Gold Refinery) started collaborating with the Industry Council for Tangible Assets on a campaign to obtain a statewide coin, currency, and precious-metals bullion sales-tax exemption. Darby and Caiola hired Graham Champion (Public Strategies, Montgomery, Alabama) as the campaign’s lobbyist.

The long and the short of the campaign was that Alabama joined the other states with a sales-tax exemption on June 1, 2018. However, the statute had a five-year sunset provision. The provision provides the state’s fiscal agency an opportunity to verify the projected benefits to the state’s revenue, which were promoted by the campaign.

Senator Tim Melson introduced Senate Bill 218: Taxation, Sales and Use Tax Exemptions for Bullion, Bullion Defined Further, Sales and Use Tax Exemption Extended, Reporting Requirements Waived for Certain Recipients of Tax Exemption, on February 10, 2021. In other words, the bill would extend the sunset provision for five more years and changing the definition of bullion's purity from 90% to 80%.

Alabama is eligible to host a national coin show, but opportunities to do so have been impacted due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Extending the exemption five more years gives show producers more time to bring a show to the state. Reducing the definition of bullion to 80% purity also makes sense, because some very early US silver coins had purity as low as 89.24% and some early US gold coins had a purity of 89.92%. Many European silver coins had purities as low as 83.5%. Changing the definition from 90% to 80% avoids potential technical glitches.

Darby has again engaged Champion as a lobbyist. The bill was heard by the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee on March 11, 2021. The committee unanimously passed the bill to the senate with a favorable recommendation.

Arkansas

The bill introduced in 2019 to exempt coins and precious-metals bullion from state sales tax missed coming out of the Senate Revenue & Tax Committee by one vote, and that person is no longer on the committee.

Since the legislature meets every two years, the bill is being taken up again this year. Senator Mark Johnson introduced SB 336: To Create an Exemption from the Sales and Use Tax for Coins, Currency, and Bullion. The bill was referred to the Senate Revenue & Tax Committee. There was a committee hearing on March 10, 2021. NCBA executive director David Crenshaw submitted written testimony in support of the bill, and NCBA director and sales-tax–exemption expert Pat Heller (Liberty Coin Service) testified in person. The committee has a procedure where bills will be heard but votes on them will be postponed until later in the session. In the meantime, if you are an Arkansas dealer, collector, or investor, please contact the committee members as soon as possible. CLICK HERE for more information and a sample letter.

To join in this important initiative to gain sales-tax exemption for coins, currency, and precious-metals bullion in Arkansas, make your gift check payable to “Arkansas Numismatic Society, c/o Tom Poole,” NEA Coins & Collectibles, 2711 S Caraway Ste A, Jonesboro, AR 72401. Write “SALES-TAX REPEAL” on your check. Your contribution will help cover lobbying costs and other campaign expenses.

Colorado

Late January, some Colorado dealers reported to NCBA that they received notice that the Colorado Office of the State Auditor is conducting an evaluation of the sales- and use-tax exemption for precious-metals bullion and coins. The auditor is requesting answers to a few questions concerning the state’s sales-tax–exemption statute § 39-26-706(4). We worked with our Colorado members on how such information should be supplied to the auditor, providing them a sample letter that might be helpful in drafting a reply.

The auditor also reached out to NCBA and the American Numismatic Association for help with this evaluation. State law requires them to evaluate all tax expenditures in Colorado every five years. Soliciting feedback does not indicate in any way that the state plans to remove these exemptions. We provided a plethora of helpful information supporting the existing statute.

Hawaii

On January 27, 2021, Hawaii representatives Val Okimoto and Dale Kobayashi introduced House Bill 1184, which would exempt the sale of precious-metal bullion from the general excise tax. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Economic Development and House Committee on Finance.

The committee heard the bill, including written testimony by NCBA board member and sales-tax–exemption expert Pat Heller and executive director David Crenshaw. There was some discussion by the committee members concerning the definition of precious-metals bullion, which resulted in an amendment to the bill to only include gold and silver, not other precious metals. The bill passed with amendments. Then the finance committee heard the amended bill (HB 1184 HD1), including NCBA’s written testimony, and recommended that the measure be passed unamended.

Unfortunately, a provision in Congress’s H.R.1319 - American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 halted any further action in the Hawaii Legislature on its bullion sales-tax exemption, HB 1184 HD1. See our related article, “COVID-19 Relief Legislation Provision Halts Action in Hawaii Legislature on Bullion Sales-Tax Exemption, Threatens Future Sales-Tax Exemptions in Every State .”

Minnesota

Minnesota representatives Zack Stephenson, Aisha Gomez, Jay Xiong, Erin Koegel, and Athena Hollins introduced HF 854. The purpose of the bill is to repeal the current exemption on the sale of precious-metal bullion in the state, included in Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 297A.67, subdivision 34:

(a) Precious metal bullion is exempt. For purposes of this subdivision, “precious metal bullion” means bars or rounds that consist of 99.9 percent or more by weight of either gold, silver, platinum, or palladium and are marked with weight, purity, and content.

(b) The exemption under this subdivision does not apply to sales and purchases of jewelry, works of art, or scrap metal.

(c) The intent of this subdivision is to eliminate the difference in tax treatment between the sale of precious metal bullion and the sale of stock, bullion ETFs, bonds, and other investment instruments.

A huge thank you to member Gary Adkins for bringing this bill to our attention. We will work with Adkins to spearhead the efforts to stop this repeal.

The bill has been referred to the Taxes Committee. NCBA will alert its Minnesota members with more information on the next steps. In the meantime, please share this information with other Minnesota coin-business owners, collectors, and investors.

Mississippi

Mississippi representatives Henry Zuber and Brady Williamson introduced House Bill 375 on January 18, 2021, which would exempt sales of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion from sales tax. The bill was referred to the House Ways & Means Committee, where there was no action on the bill, so it died in committee. There may be a better possibility to achieve something in 2023, especially if Arkansas and Tennessee adopt exemptions this year.

Ohio

The Ohio Legislature's 2020–2021 budget eliminated the sales-tax exemption on the purchases of investment metal bullion and investment coins in July 2019. Afterward, the Ohio dealer community rallied, urging Governor DeWine to line-item veto this language and protect the exemption. Unfortunately, the governor opted not to veto the language before signing the bill into law on July 18, 2019.

NCBA member David Miholer (The Executive Coin Company) leads a coalition of Ohio coin-business owners working on reinstating the state’s sales-tax exemption. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down any opportunities for the coalition to change the law last year, but Miholer reported in January that representatives Derek Merrin and Riordan McClain, and senator Kristina Roegner, seem to be interested in helping them. Senator Roegner is the chair of Senate Ways & Means Committee and Representative Merrin is the chair of the House Ways & Means Committee. And with a republican governor one would believe the coalition can get it restored.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania representative Russ Diamond introduced House Bill 307, “repealing provisions relating to exclusions from tax.” This would specifically affect the sales-tax exemption on investment-metal bullion and investment coins. NCBA reached out to the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists to spearhead grassroots efforts to remove the investment-metal bullion and investment coins from the items targeted in the bill to have their sales-tax exemptions repealed.

The bill is currently in the House Finance Committee. There are no meetings scheduled at this time. As more information becomes available, NCBA will send alerts.

In the meantime, please share this information with other Pennsylvania coin-business owners, collectors, and investors.

South Carolina

South Carolina representatives Thomas Pope, Sandy McGarry, Bill Taylor, Raye Felder, and Melissa Oremus introduced House Bill 3392, seeking “to amend Section 12-36-2120, relating to sales tax exemptions, so as to remove the exemption on certain items.” In other words, coins, currency, and bullion, among other things, would lose their sales-tax exemption. NCBA reached out to the South Carolina Numismatic Association to spearhead grassroots efforts to remove the coins, currency, and bullion from the items targeted in the bill.

The bill is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee. There are no meetings scheduled at this time. Representative Oremus requested on February 25, 2021, to be removed as a sponsor. As more information becomes available, NCBA will send alerts. In the meantime, please share this information with South Carolina coin-business owners, collectors, and investors.

Tennessee

This year is an unprecedented sixth attempt to gain a sales- and use-tax exemption in Tennessee. Talk about perseverance! Before, Michigan efforts held that record, at four years of effort to obtain its exemption.

Representative Ron Gant and senator John Stevens introduced companion bills that exempt certain sales of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins and bullion from the sales and use tax. House Bill 514 and Senate Bill 870 were introduced on February 4, 2021, and February 11, 2021, respectively. Representatives Lamberth, Hulsey, Eldridge, Griffey, and Terry are HB 514 co-prime sponsors, and Senator Crowe is the SB 870 co-prime sponsor.

The Tennessee Precious Metals, Coin & Currency Coalition has hired a Bass, Berry & Sims lobbyist team to monitor the progress of each bill as they move through the state’s legislative process. The House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee placed HB 514 behind the budget, and the Senate Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee referred SB 870 with a negative recommendation. The bills will be considered again when the House and Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committees leaders meet to decide what is going to be funded in the budget.

This year there is a huge budget surplus, in large part due to the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. However, the Tennessee Department of Finance & Administration commissioner has reservations about any bills with a recurring negative fiscal situation. The outlook is neutral for the bill’s funding and passage this session.

We have always promoted the exemption as a legitimate jobs and economic-development issue with the legislators, a positive fiscal impact on state and local revenues. As a matter of fact, the bills’ fiscal notes state: “Other Fiscal Impact – Secondary economic impacts may occur as a result of this legislation due to increased business activity in Tennessee. Due to multiple unknown factors, fiscal impacts directly attributable to such secondary economic impacts cannot be quantified with reasonable certainty.”

A few states have enacted exemptions with a five-year sunset provision, so that a state’s fiscal agency could verify that the projected positive economic outcomes really were happening. Our bills’ sponsors know that we are open to amending the bill with a five-year sunset provision to have an opportunity to demonstrate that the state’s tax revenue would increase by such an exemption. This position also gives our sponsors some flexibility if they run into pushback from the administration.

To contribute toward lobbyist fees and other campaign expenses, please make your check payable to Tennessee Precious Metals, Coin & Currency Coalition, P.O. Box 2869, Brentwood, TN 37024.

For more information, please contact Col. Steven Ellsworth (Butternut, Brentwood) at (703) 932-6331 or via email at [email protected]; David Hall (Hallmark Rare Coins, Kodak) at (865) 643-8435 or email [email protected]; or Bruce Paulhamus (Southern Precious Metals Exchange, Chattanooga) at (423) 825-4653 or email [email protected]

Washington, DC, News

COVID-19 Relief Legislation Provision Halts Action in Hawaii Legislature on Bullion Sales-Tax Exemption, Threatens Future Sales-Tax Exemptions in Every State

by Jimmy Hayes, consultant for the Coalition for Equitable Regulation and Taxation

CERT is a separate entity that functions as the lobbying arm of NCBA. As such, it is at the forefront of industry efforts to educate state and federal government leaders, legislative representatives and staff, and the public regarding issues of concern to the coins, currency, and precious-metals–bullion communities.

The last action taken before the senate voted to pass the COVID-19 relief legislation was a “manager’s amendment” placed in the legislation by Senator Schumer (D-NY), which reads in part:

A State or territory shall not use the funds under this section or transferred pursuant to section 603 (c)(4) to either directly or indirectly offset a reduction in the net tax revenue of such State or territory resulting from a change in law, regulation, or administrative interpretation during the covered period that reduces any tax (by providing for a reduction in a rate, a rebate, a deduction, a credit, or otherwise) or delays the imposition of any tax or tax increase.

Fearing a threat to its share of the $350 billion in federal funds authorized under the new relief bill, Hawaii’s state legislature has halted the passage of a strongly supported sales-tax exemption for bullion sales. Officials in several other states have also expressed concerns about the broad language in the provision, which could be used to prohibit a wide assortment of sales and use tax, income tax, or other tax-related provisions in states receiving the federal funds. Some states had already made plans for such reductions prior to the passage of the federal legislation on March 10.

These concerns are legitimate. The Treasury is required to prescribe regulations clarifying what activities may be allowed under the legislative language. However, such an authorization presumes that the language used is constitutional. But while it is one thing to limit the use of money received by a state or territory for the effects of a natural disaster or as part of a targeted program, it is quite a magnitude greater to threaten the sovereignty of a state or territory to exercise its exclusive legislative powers.

Leaving aside the clear issues of constitutionality, NCBA believes that the passage of a sales-tax exemption still meets the requirements of the COVID-19 legislative language:

  1. Most states have not experienced dramatic revenue losses. In fact, the Tax Foundation has computed state revenue declines of only about $2 billion, in contrast to $195.3 billion in state allocations under the COVID-19 legislation. Therefore, in most states there is no argument to be made that federal funds will be used to offset state losses.
  2. In states where losses have occurred, the legislative record supporting sales-tax exemptions makes the convincing case that small businesses given the exemption generate both direct and indirect sales- and income-tax revenues in clear excess of any small revenue lost in sales tax of exempted items.

NCBA/CERT will be monitoring the Treasury regulatory process, as well as what actions states may initiate to challenge the legality of the broad language contained in the legislation.

The Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020

by Gary Knaus, NCBA member and owner of Knaus & Associates, Inc.

Knaus has provided AML compliance services to bullion, coin, and jewelry dealers since 2012. Contact him at 630-963-6350 or [email protected].

Toward the end of the National Defense Appropriation Act of 2021, sandwiched between a mind-numbing number of military appropriations and completely out of context with the rest of the document, is the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020. According to pundits, this act contains the most significant changes to AML laws since the Bank Secrecy Act was enacted in 1970.

The range and scope of changes are intended to modernize AML laws in response to emerging threats, to improve coordination between the various stakeholders, to encourage innovation in technologies (such as artificial intelligence and machine learning) that can identify threats and violations, and to otherwise streamline and improve the effectiveness of AML activities required by the law. The new act also requires that, on a periodic basis, the Treasury review the effectiveness of current regulations and make adjustments as may be required. The Department of Treasury has until the end of 2021 to finalize the regulations, but we can get a reasonable (if somewhat opaque) idea of the changes that will impact our industry.

The Current Impact of AML on Banks and Our Industry

Financial institutions have long borne both the brunt and financial burden of policing their customers, and their responsibilities have increased over time. Every year, about a million cash transaction and suspicious activity reports are submitted by financial institutions to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and these institutions also employ small armies of AML audit consultants to review transactions at a staggering cost. It’s not just banks that incur compliance costs; most bullion and coin dealers must be AML compliant, and some major bullion dealers and auction houses have full-time AML staff to oversee implementation and handle reporting requirements.

Last year, banks were given guidance by FinCEN on how to determine which of their customers posed an AML risk. Rather than utilizing a long-since-retracted list of business categories considered high-risk by the government (including coin dealers, jewelers, pawn shops, etc.), banks should now use their own judgement, based on knowing their customers and assessing each customer’s risk profile, when determining which customers to keep and whose accounts to terminate. Ironically, based on what I am seeing in the market, banks have become yet more squeamish about keeping bullion, coin, and jewelry dealers as customers. Hopefully, the new AML Act will provide avenues for us to reframe some of these banks’ views of our industry.

So, what is in the AML Act of 2020?

There are several provisions that will have a direct impact on our industry, and others that will impact us tangentially.

  1. Cash Reporting Requirements and Thresholds: The Secretary of the Treasury, via the results of a BSA Data Value Analysis Project, will determine if different thresholds should apply to different categories of activities, and whether dollar thresholds, including aggregate thresholds, should be adjusted. There has been much discussion that the $10,000 threshold instituted in 1970 might be too low today and suggesting that an amount of $30,000 makes more sense. While Suspicious Activity Reports are not itemized separately in this article (as they are encouraged but not required for our industry), the act also contemplates SAR adjustments like those of cash-reporting thresholds.
  2. Beneficial Ownership Requirements: Shell companies have long been the bane of regulators, due to a lack of ownership transparency. This new regulation focuses on smaller businesses, those with 20 or fewer full-time employees and less than $5,000,000 in annual revenue—a category into which many shell companies fall. While this regulation is complex and details have yet to be fully fleshed out, it may require that most of NCBA members register their beneficial owners with FinCEN.
  3. Values that Substitute for Currency: The definition of currency is being modified to read, “a transaction in money, credit, securities or gold, or a service provided with respect to money, securities, futures, precious metals, stones and jewels, or value that substitutes for currency.” It is my understanding that “value which substitutes for currency” will include cryptocurrency.
  4. Dealers in Antiquities: New regulations will require firms that buy and sell antiquities to adhere to AML rules and regulations analogous to those of bullion and coin dealers. But just what are “antiquities”? In addition to objects like ancient artworks, are ancient coins included? How old must an object be, and of what value, to meet the definition of an “antiquity” in the regulations?
  5. Enhanced Fines and Penalties: The act adds two new criminal offenses. These might be of limited importance to smaller firms, but knowingly concealing or misrepresenting a material fact when reporting beneficial ownership information in a $1,000,000 or larger transaction involving foreign political figures or their families or close associates is now a crime. The second offense relates to the source of funds in a transaction that is of “primary laundering concern” to the Treasury Department. Clearly this latter offense needs to be further defined.
  6. FinCEN Domestic Liaisons: Interestingly, there is a provision in the act which appoints at least six senior FinCEN employees to act as domestic liaisons. These liaisons will reach out to “BSA officers at financial institutions, including nonbank financial institutions.” It is my hope that dealers in our industry and NCBA will be able to establish a dialogue with these liaisons to ensure that our input and concerns about the new act are communicated to those who finalize the regulations.

I will provide updates as they become available and expand on some of the topics discussed above in the future.

Wayfair Resources

As you certainly know by now, the landscape of interstate commerce was changed in 2018 with the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the South Dakota v. Wayfair case. The court’s decision means that states can now require out-of-state retailers to collect sales-tax revenue from consumers. The following resources will help you begin to appreciate the impact of this monumental decision on your business and customers.

“The Impact of the Supreme Court Decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair on the Numismatic Community”

A white paper that dives into the totality and complexity of the interstate-taxation issue that our community and others now face.

CLICK HERE to download a copy of this white paper.

“Sales-Tax Status & Economic Nexus Requirements by State”

This quick-reference guide, for ICTA dealer-members only, shows the sale-tax exemption status (complete, partial, or nonexistent exemption) of each state on in-state retail sales of coins, currency, and precious-metals bullion. This guide also shows each state’s post-Wayfair economic nexus requirements.

CLICK HERE to download the latest copy of this guide.

With the states now acting swiftly to collect sales-tax revenue beyond their borders, we will keep this guide updated as changes occur. To access the latest guide 24/7, members can login at ictaonline.org. Then, from the main menu bar, select Resources > White Papers > Sales Tax Exemption.

More Valuable Wayfair Resources

On January 14, 2019, the then-executive director of ICTA, Jimmy Hayes, presented an important update on the SCOTUS South Dakota v. Wayfair decision. Learn the most common false information spread about the decision, and more!

CLICK HERE to watch this video.

FREE Flyer for Dealers

Another valuable Wayfair resource is an informational flyer for the numismatic dealer community called “What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You,” which informs dealers about the potential damage to their businesses caused by the Court’s decision, plus the “Most Common FALSE Information Spread about the Wayfair Supreme Court Decision.”

CLICK HERE to download a copy of this flyer and share it with your fellow dealers.

Other FREE Videos

SD Gold, Silver & Finance News Interviews ICTA Executive Director on Wayfair's Sales-Tax Implications

New ICTA Executive Director Jimmy Hayes Warns Taxation Issues for Coin Industry

More Valuable Resources

Here is a comprehensive list of members-only resources, covering topics such as anti-money laundering, broker reporting, cash reporting, and other important information. These resources have been authored by our staff, members, and independent analysts. The white papers and reports are regularly updated and added to. Check back regularly at ictaonline.org > Resources (log-in required) for new content.

  1. White Papers
    • Anti-Money Laundering
      1. AML Compliance Plan Information
      2. AML/Patriot Act Seminar Recap
      3. Application of FinCEN’s Regulations to Persons Issuing Physical or Digital Negotiable Certificates of Ownership of Precious Metals
      4. Ray Gregson Memo: Questionnaires Concerning $50,000 Threshold Rule
      5. Steps to Conducting an Independent Audit of Your AML Plan
    • Broker Reporting
      1. IRS Bulletin No. 1992-52, Rev. Proc. 92-103
      2. Items to Report
      3. Like-Kind Exchange and Barter
    • Cash Reporting
      1. Clarification Regarding Form 8300
      2. Filing Form 8300 on Coin and Currency Purchases
    • Internal Revenue Service
      1. Bank Secrecy Act Forms and Filing Requirements
      2. Forms and Publications
      3. Revenue Rulings on Like-Kind Exchanges
    • Miscellaneous
      1. Arguments for Exempting Coins and Precious Metals from Secondhand Dealer Laws
      2. General Guidance on Certain CARES Act Provisions
      3. How Dealers Can Avoid Becoming Fraud Victims
      4. IRA Home Storage
      5. IRS Audits Reveal Common Cash-Reporting/AML Mistakes Dealers Make
      6. IRS Seizing Large Amounts from Coin Dealers' Bank Accounts
      7. Like-Kind Exchange and Barter
      8. Paying Tax on eBay Purchases
      9. The ABCs of Precious Metals IRAs
      10. Investing in Gold Coins
      11. Traveling with Currency, Coins, Precious Metals, or Valuable Jewelry
      12. WE SUPPORT ICTA Logo-Use Agreement
    • Sales-Tax Exemption, Including Wayfair
      1. Impact of the Supreme Court Decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair on the Numismatic Community
      2. Sales-Tax Status & Economic Nexus Requirements by State *NEW & IMPROVED*
      3. State Sales-Tax Map
      4. The Sales Tax Solution
    • States
      1. California
        • Business and Professions Code: Secondhand Dealer Licensing
        • Example of Language that Excludes Coin and Bullion Sales
        • Taxes Summary (April 2009)
      2. Florida
        • Florida Administrative Code Rule 12A-1.0371: Sales of Coins, Currency, or Bullion
      3. Minnesota
        • Attention Minnesota Residents Notice
        • Minnesota Bullion Coin Dealer Law
        • Minnesota Bullion Coin Dealer Law Fact Sheet
      4. Virginia
        • Tax Bulletin 15-6: Important Information Regarding Gold, Silver, and Platinum Bullion Sales
  2. Videos
    • SD Gold, Silver & Finance News Interviews ICTA Executive Director on Wayfair's Sales-Tax Implications
    • New ICTA Executive Director Jimmy Hayes Warns Taxation Issues for Coin Industry
    • SCOTUS Wayfair Decision: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You!
  3. Order Information Kits: ICTA provides important information to help you with cash and broker reporting. Copper and above membership types get the discounted prices—a 50% discount.
    • Cash-Reporting Kit ($200): The information provided by ICTA is intended to assist dealers in understanding the regulations on cash reporting and money laundering. This information is designed to be used in conjunction with the advice of your professional tax advisor.
    • Broker-Reporting Kit ($100): The information provided by ICTA is based on our discussions with the Internal Revenue Service to identify “investment-level” or other substantial transactions that could generate tax consequences. You should also consult with your tax advisor.
  4. ShipandInsure.com: It couldn’t be easier to get extremely competitive rates on shipping insurance for outbound or inbound packages, both domestic and international. Claims are processed promptly for loss, partial loss, or damage, providing peace of mind. Shipments are covered in full with no deductible. Shipandinsure.com is a benefit program for members of the North American Collectibles Association, and ICTA members receive a $15 discount on NACA membership. The program covers up to $75,000 per shipping ordered placed online, although higher limits are approved by request. The coverage is through PMA Group, which is A-rated. Check out the shipandinsure.com website today. The link to join as an ICTA member is on a separate button, giving you the $15 discount on NACA membership. Call (877) 393-5310 for more information and sign up with the NACA today. Start saving immediately on shipping insurance for packages sent by FedEx, UPS, or USPS.