Collectors do not seem to like to think about sales taxes. As the country inches closer to seeing state and local sales taxes collected by merchants on all online purchases, this indifference could come back and bite them.
Last year the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would establish the collection of state and local sales taxes. The measure sits presently in the House of Representatives.
I have heard nary a peep out of any average collector about the matter.
To be sure the Industry Council for Tangible Assets is working on the issue on behalf of numismatics, but in the question of national commercial tax issues, numismatics has only a small voice.
Collectors do recognize the sales tax issue by their actions. If they want to buy bullion and stop by a shop in states where such taxes apply, they often shift their purchases out of state. If they are truly aware of the tax issue, they do not stop in a shop at all.
Collectors who live in states where these sales taxes apply are not off the hook, because they are tasked with self-reporting this liability to the governments under which they live.
How many do this?
As you might have guessed, compliance with the sales tax laws is not high.
That’s why there is a national effort to implement a law requiring merchants to collect the taxes owed by residents of each state or sales taxing jurisdiction. State governments want their money.
If the House joins the Senate in passing a sales tax collection bill, it will be too late for collectors to make their voices heard.
It will be law.
How will they feel if the Mint applies sales tax to their online purchases of proof sets, proof Eagles and other coins?
At that point, individuals who live in states where ICTA has successfully led efforts to prevent sales taxes from being applicable on coin and bullion investments will realize just what an asset ICTA is.
This year all collectors should resolve to support ICTA in its efforts by contacting their representatives in the House to express their disapproval of a national law on the collection of sales taxes on online transactions as well as other forms of interstate sales, including mail order.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."