Congratulations to the Industry Council for Tangible Assets, Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo and their political allies.
Late yesterday they announced that they had for the third time overcome an effort in the Maryland General Assembly to repeal a state sales tax exemption on coin and bullion transactions.
“We have once again defeated an effort to repeal the tax exemption and have assured that Baltimore will continue to host some of the nation’s premier coin and precious-metal conventions for the foreseeable future,” said Mary Burleson, Whitman expo president.
Few would want to do numismatic business at the Baltimore show without this sales tax exemption.
Lost to the city would be all of the hotel, restaurant and related business that hundreds of dealers and thousands of collectors bring three times a year.
Whitman’s data show this amounts to $4 million a year.
It would seem a no-brainer that anything that would jeopardize this commercial activity that boosts the city would not be done.
Yet the fact that efforts to repeal the sales tax exemption recur indicate that it isn’t as much of a no-brainer as collectors and dealers might think.
It takes a continuing demonstration of the facts before state legislators to simply maintain the status quo.
That’s why Whitman has retained over recent years the Rasmussen Group. This Annapolis lobbying group keeps this demonstration of facts ongoing.
In a perfect world, this would not be necessary, but collectors can react to tax matters like a root canal at the dentist. They would rather not think about it. This is unfortunate.
When the numismatic hobby/business is not paying attention, unfortunate things happen.
Some collectors might think that as long as they can find some dealer in some state that can sell them coins without adding a sales tax, they are OK.
They might end up surprised to receive a use tax bill from their home state if they happen to live in the 18 that have no sales tax exemption in any form.
At that point they would realize that they should have paid attention and assisted efforts to expand the number of states where the exemptions prevail. But by then it will be too late for the individuals involved.
There was a hearing about the proposed sales tax exemption repeal as it was proposed in bill HB903. The House Ways and Means Committee, took testimony from Whitman, and Kathy McFadden, ICTA executive director.
Once concluded, no further action was taken on the legislation, so it has died in committee.
If you want to stay alert and support efforts of this kind without making it seem like dental work, visit the ICTA website and then do your part.
The link is: http://www.ictaonline.org/
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."