2024 Q1
Monday, April 1, 2024
Section: 2024




Association News

IRS Clarifies Precious Metals Reporting Requirements

In December 2023, the National Coin & Bullion Association (NCBA) sought clarification from the IRS regarding reporting requirements for dealers in precious metals after noticing discrepancies in the application of IRS Revenue Procedure 92-103. These issues particularly concerned the compliance of specific precious-metal coins and $1,000 face-value bags of 90% silver with Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)–approved regulated futures contracts.

NCBA’s investigation revealed that current CFTC-approved regulated futures contracts for precious metals predominantly require delivery in bar form from approved brands with specific purity standards. Precious-metal coins and $1,000 face-value bags of 90% silver no longer fall within the scope of reportable items under these contracts, contrary to prior practice.

Following multiple exchanges with the IRS Office of Chief Counsel, an attorney with the IRS confirmed that these items are no longer considered reportable under CFTC-approved contract requirements. This informal ruling will be reflected in updated instructions for IRS Form 1099-B, Sales of precious metals.

However, future changes to CFTC-approved contract requirements could potentially alter this status. NCBA will continue to monitor any developments in CFTC regulations that may impact reporting requirements.

In light of this clarification, the NCBA concludes that only approved brands of precious metals in specified ounces and purity are to be reported. The association acknowledges the dynamic nature of approved brands and the impracticality of maintaining a static list. Consequently, NCBA has withdrawn its “Items to Be Reported” resource, and Broker Reporting Information Kits are temporarily discontinued, pending updates.

By seeking clarification and actively engaging with regulatory authorities, NCBA reaffirms its commitment to upholding compliance standards and ensuring its members remain informed while navigating the complexities of reporting requirements in the precious metals market. To assist dealer-members in understanding reportable items, NCBA is releasing a new white paper with guidance and insights into approved brands acceptable for fulfilling precious-metals contracts. It’s important to note that this information is intended to aid NCBA members and should not substitute for professional advice from tax or legal advisors.
 

Welcome New Members

(And thank you, referrers!)

The following joined NCBA between January 1 and March 31, 2024:

Copper
  • Matthew Shaftner, Main Street Jewelers (NC)
  • Norman Pullen, Maine Gold & Silver (ME)
  • Mark Ferguson, Mark Ferguson Rare Coins (WI)
  • David Diegmueller, National Coin (FL)
  • Mark Duclos, Rechant Coins & Precious Metals (FL)

Basic
  • Kenneth Murphy, Boston Bullion (MA)
  • Kyle Horn, Bullion Standard (CA)
  • Julius Berry, Coinguru/Coinmax (NY)
  • Jose Gomez, Gold Coins Limited Liability Co. (NJ)
  • Paula Cook, Montgomery Chandler (TX)
  • Donovan Strydom, Red State Gold Group (CA)
  • Demitri Kolokouris, Ridge Coin and Jewlelry (NY)
  • James Irwin, Shaker Coin & Jewelry Co. (OH)
  • William Pullen, Tampa Bay Gold & Silver Corp (FL)
  • Miguel Perez-Santalla, The Wyoming Reserve (WY)

Numismatic Organization
  • Bob Whalen, Treasure Coast Coin Club (FL)

Concerned Collectors Coalition
  • Michael Nelson (CA)
  • David Ross (CA)
  • Timothy McAfee (FL)
  • Anthony Hayden (IN)
  • Tom Douglas (KY)
  • Ian Damm (MI)
  • James Lowery (MI)
  • Phil Shockley (MO)
  • Joseph Davis (NC)
  • David Mominee (OH)
  • Michael Yeager (OH)
  • Anthony Cosenza (PA)
  • Dan Horman (PA)
  • Steven Nord (PA)
  • Clarence Criswell (SC)
  • Lawrence Hawes (TX)
  • Bryant Alvarado (UT)
  • Brandon Janisse (WA)
  • Edwin Noble (WA)
  • Charles Shaffer (WA)
  • Ken Stewart (WA)


Message from executive director David Crenshaw

Your Commitment to NCBA Makes a Difference
Thank you for renewing your National Coin & Bullion Association membership! Your dedication is invaluable, and we’re pleased to have you as active participants in our organization. Your support fuels our mission and strengthens the whole numismatic community.
Renewal brings a host of benefits:
  • Educational Resources: Exclusive access to newsletters, white papers, and seminars for industry insights.
  • Cost Savings: Discounts on NCBA kits and with partner associations and businesses.
  • Enhanced Visibility: Showcase your affiliation through event signage and priority listings.
  • Networking Opportunities: Engage with peers at events and expand your professional circle.
  • Amplifying Your Voice: Participate in shaping the industry’s future.
And starting with next year’s membership renewal, we hope to add two more benefits by offering auto-renewal options:
  • Convenience: Renew without manual intervention.
  • Continuous Access: Enjoy perks without interruption.
Stay tuned for updates!

Your involvement directly bolsters our advocacy and unity. We appreciate your impact on our organization.

Do you know colleagues who would benefit from NCBA? Join our Member-Get-A-Member Challenge! Click here for more information.

Thank you for your ongoing support.
 

Message from chair Patrick I. Perez

One of the leading stories in the numismatic marketplace this year has been the dramatic surge in the spot price of gold, leading to increased attention and demand for gold bullion products. Such fluctuations inevitably attract novice buyers and investors who have never purchased physical precious metals before. Reflecting on this, I was reminded of the importance of the work done by this association.

For instance, if a retail buyer were to purchase just two ounces of gold bullion at average market prices at the time of writing, they would be looking at a cost in the neighborhood of $4,575. If this amount were subject to sales tax, depending on their state of residence, the buyer could face an additional cost of $275 to $450. However, for buyers residing in states where we have achieved bullion sales-tax exemptions (whether outright or with a threshold), they need not worry about this extra cost. I urge all NCBA members who deal in gold bullion to emphasize this point to their customers, especially new buyers who may not be aware of why or how such an exemption exists.

Additionally, NCBA recently awarded three scholarships to young adult numismatists to attend the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar. With world events over the last couple years there had been a lapse in this program, but we were able to reignite it this year. A press release has already been issued with the announcement, but I found it personally gratifying to review the applications and speak with the recipients. Their enthusiasm and passion for our hobby make it easy to be excited for the future, and I am very motivated to ensure that awarding these scholarships will remain an annual occurrence.
 

Upcoming Events

Membership Dinner and Update
You and a guest are cordially invited to the NCBA dinner and update on Wednesday, August 7, 2024, at Gibsons Steakhouse, 5464 North River Road, Rosemont, Illinois. The reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. A brief recap of any significant association business will be presented during the dinner.

Gold and Platinum members receive a complimentary dinner for themselves and one guest. Be sure to also register your guest.

Early bird discount! Register by July 7, 2024, and save $25 per dinner ($100 now; $125 after July 7). Seating is limited, so register early to save and guarantee your seat.

Consider also becoming an event sponsor with a donation in any amount.

CLICK HERE to register.

NCBA Board of Directors Meeting
A board of directors meeting will commence at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 7, 2024, at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (meeting room to be determined).

General membership participation and engagement are invaluable to the growth and success of our association. Members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Member Attendance Guidelines
  • Membership Status: Please ensure your membership is current and dues are up-to-date to attend.
  • RSVP: Kindly confirm your attendance by July 7 for logistical purposes.
  • Participation: Opportunities for member input will be provided during designated segments of the meeting.
  • Meeting Conduct: Respectful adherence to meeting protocols is appreciated.
Your involvement is crucial to shaping our association’s future. We eagerly anticipate your active participation and valuable contributions during the meeting.

For inquiries or to RSVP, please contact executive director David Crenshaw at ncba@ncbassoc.org.
 

NCBA Awards Scholarships to Young Numismatists for 2024 ANA Summer Seminar

The National Coin & Bullion Association (NCBA) is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2024 Young Numismatists Scholarship to attend the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Summer Seminar. The scholarship committee, chaired by Patrick I. Perez, has selected three deserving young numismatists to attend the week-long seminar at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

The 2024 scholarship recipients are Eva Pate, Matthew Jackson, and Paul Bartlett. Each of them has demonstrated exceptional passion and dedication to the field of numismatics. This scholarship covers seminar fees, board, and round-trip airfare to Colorado Springs, providing a unique opportunity for these young collectors to enhance their knowledge and skills.

Perez expressed his enthusiasm for the chosen recipients, stating, “We are thrilled to support Eva, Matthew, and Paul in their numismatic journey. This scholarship aims to foster the growth of young collectors and build the vibrant community of numismatists. Their commitment to the field is truly commendable.”

While the Young Numismatists scholarship is awarded annually, NCBA was able to extend the scholarship to three recipients this year through a generous donation from Mike Fuljenz, member of the NCBA board of directors and scholarship committee. NCBA’s executive director, David Crenshaw, also shared his thoughts on the initiative, saying, “NCBA is dedicated to promoting education and passion for numismatics among the youth. We extend our gratitude to Mike Fuljenz for his generous donation, which allowed us to award scholarships to three deserving applicants. We believe in the power of education to shape the future of numismatics.”

The scholarship, part of NCBA’s commitment to encouraging the next generation of numismatists, is open to individuals between the ages of 13 and 22. The application deadline is December 31 each year, with recipients notified the following January. If you know of any budding numismatists who would be interested in attending the ANA Summer Seminar in 2025, please encourage them to apply for next year’s scholarship here.

For more information about the ANA Summer Seminar, please visit here.

To contribute to the NCBA Scholarship Fund, donations can be made by check payable to NCBA, mailed to P.O. Box 237, Dacula, GA 30019, with “Scholarship Fund” noted on the memo line. Donations can also be made online here.
 

NCBA Contributes $5,000 to NCIC to Combat Escalating Numismatic Crime

The National Coin & Bullion Association (NCBA) has made a substantial contribution of $5,000 to the Numismatic Crime Information Center (NCIC), in recognition of the center’s pivotal role in combating the rising tide of numismatic crime across the nation.

Numismatic collectors and dealers are confronting mounting challenges related to incidents of theft, fraud, and robbery, exacerbated by burgeoning crime in the numismatic and retail sphere. Factors such as economic conditions, social issues, and the growth of organized crime have propelled this alarming trend.

NCIC, under the steadfast leadership of founder and president Doug Davis, has tirelessly championed the cause of safeguarding the integrity of the numismatic community. Its efforts encompass tackling organized crime, fraud, robbery, postal thefts, and counterfeits, resulting in several successful recoveries, arrests, and convictions.

NCBA’s $5,000 contribution underscores its commitment to support initiatives dedicated to combatting numismatic crime and protecting dealers and collectors. The contribution will further bolster NCIC’s crucial mission by facilitating funding for investigations, educational outreach, technology enhancement, community building, and the development of investigative tools and resources.

NCBA’s donation is an invitation to the broader numismatic community to follow suit, challenging more individuals, associations, and stakeholders to contribute toward NCIC’s efforts combatting numismatic crime.

David Crenshaw, executive director of NCBA, expressed the association’s rationale behind the contribution, stating, “NCBA recognizes the urgency in addressing the escalating numismatic crime plaguing our community. NCIC’s mission to educate, investigate, and prevent crime aligns with our commitment to protect collectors and dealers, ensuring a secure environment for all. We urge others in the community to join us in supporting their critical work.”

Davis at NCIC expressed gratitude for NCBA’s contribution, remarking, “NCBA’s generous contribution fortifies our resolve to combat numismatic crime. This is a collective effort, and we urge the community to join hands in safeguarding our shared passion.”

For those willing to support NCIC’s mission, tax-deductible donations can be sent to P.O. Box 14080, Arlington, Texas 76094, or made online via the NCIC website here.
 

Update Your Member Profile

Stay connected with NCBA through our website at ncbassoc.org. We ask that you take a moment to update your member profile via the Home page sign-in. If you do not know your username or password, from the Home page select “Forgot Your Password” to retrieve them.

Concerned Collectors Coalition members should add your state and federal legislators to your profile. CLICK HERE to find your legislators—remember, they may have changed following the November election.

By keeping your member profile up to date, you are guaranteed access to all the exclusive benefits and resources that an NCBA membership offers:
  • Member-only resources specifically for dealers, available online at ncbassoc.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 ncba@ncbassoc.org.
 

Essential Resources for Your Business

NCBA provides essential 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): (Update coming soon; see above “Breaking News: IRS Clarifies Precious Metals Reporting Requirements”) 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. This information is designed to be used in conjunction with the advice of your professional 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.
 

Featured Member Benefits

Free “NCBA Member” Logo Table Runner for Gold and Above Members
Attention, gold and above members of the NCBA! We’re thrilled to announce an exclusive benefit just for you—a complimentary “NCBA Member” Logo Table Runner.

As a gold member or above, you understand the importance of standing out at trade shows and representing your affiliation with pride. That’s why we’re delighted to offer you this $200-value table runner at no additional cost. Made from durable, machine-washable polyester and boasting a sleek serged-edge finish, this 80" x 28" runner will elevate your booth and enhance your professional image.

But what if you’re a silver, bronze, or lower-level member? Not to worry, you can still take advantage of this fantastic opportunity! The “NCBA Member” Logo Table Runner is available for purchase to all individual dealer and company members below the gold level. For $200, you too can elevate your booth with this high-quality branded accessory.

Whether you’re a gold member enjoying your complimentary runner or a lower-level member taking advantage of the opportunity to purchase one, the “NCBA Member” Logo Table Runner is sure to make a statement at your next trade show. Enhance your visibility, professionalism, and pride with this exclusive benefit from NCBA.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to showcase your affiliation and elevate your booth to new heights. Gold and above members, please request your “NCBA Member” Logo Table Runner by emailing ncba@ncbassoc.org. Others, click here to order yours today!
 

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 capture the attention of NCBA members in our newsletter, Member News?

Help your company stand out with an advertisement in the advertising carousel and/or Member News. The “Our Sponsors” carousel on our website displays each ad in 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.
 

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 ncba@ncbassoc.org 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 ncba@ncbassoc.org, so we may investigate further.
 

States’ News

Presently, 43 states have complete or partial sales-tax exemptions on in-state retail sales of collector coins and precious-metals coins and bullion. Of those states, five (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon) have no state sales tax at all, while the other 36 have enacted legislation and adopted regulations to exempt such merchandise. That leaves seven states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Vermont) and the District of Columbia who do not exempt retail sales of coins, currency, and precious-metals bullion from sales tax. Any member who would like to start a sales-tax exemption initiative in one of these remaining states or the District of Columbia should please email ncba@ncbassoc.org.

 

Alaska

Developments are underway in our legislative campaign to support House Bill 3, An Act relating to specie as legal tender in the state; and relating to borough and city sales and use taxes on specie, in the Alaska Legislature. This crucial piece of legislation, focused on recognizing gold and silver specie as legal tender in the state and addressing borough and city sales and use taxes on specie, has made significant strides forward since its introduction.

On May 11, 2023, HB 3 achieved a significant victory by passing in the House with a vote count of 25 Yeas to 15 Nays. Following that, the bill underwent the engrossment process and received the necessary signatures from the speaker and chief clerk. Subsequently, it was forwarded to the Senate for their consideration. The Senate officially received the bill on May 12, 2023, where it underwent its initial reading and was referred to the State Affairs Committee for further evaluation. The first regular session of the 33rd Legislature adjourned on May 17, 2023, with legislators reconvening in January 2024.

On March 18, Senator Bjorkman moved and asked unanimous consent to be shown as a cross sponsor on HB 3, endorsing the bill by having his name included among the other sponsors. “Cross-sponsor” typically refers to a member of one legislative chamber expressing support for a bill originating in the other chamber. There was no objection to Bjorkman's request, so it was granted, and his name has been officially added as a cross-sponsor to the bill.

While these successes are encouraging, our work is far from over. With the May end of the 2024 session approaching, it is imperative for us to maintain momentum and ensure that our voices are heard loud and clear in support of HB 3.

We call upon all concerned Alaskans to take action by reaching out to Senator Scott Kawasaki, the Chair of the Senate State Affairs Committee. Whether through phone calls, emails, or written correspondence, it is vital to convey to Senator Kawasaki the importance of HB 3 to you and your community. While a sample letter is available for reference, we encourage you to personalize your message to reflect your unique perspective and circumstances. Your advocacy for HB 3 can have a profound impact on its progress through the legislative process.

To help amplify our advocacy, NCBA would like to extend a special invitation to members of the Anchorage Coin Club and other interested Alaskans to join our Concerned Collectors Coalition. Membership in this coalition is free and open to individuals whose primary income does not come from the sale of numismatic material. By adding your voice to our cause, you can help demonstrate widespread support for HB 3 and its objectives.

Furthermore, we encourage the Anchorage Coin Club to consider joining the Numismatic Organization membership tier of our association. Membership at this level not only strengthens our collective efforts but also provides members with additional resources and support for our community’s shared goals. President Jerel Price has indicated that the Anchorage Coin Club will discuss our invitation at a future board meeting; we look forward to hearing the outcome of their discussion.

As May—and the end of the legislative session—approaches, we remain optimistic about the prospects of further progress on HB 3. Your active involvement and support are vital in ensuring that this important legislation receives the attention it deserves.

We express our gratitude to all those who have already taken action in support of HB 3. Together, we can make a difference and pave the way for positive change in Alaska’s legislative landscape.

For more information or to volunteer to help with the local campaign efforts, please contact NCBA at (678) 430-3252 or email ncba@ncbassoc.org.
 

Kentucky

In February 2024, the Kentucky House of Representatives unveiled their eagerly anticipated “revenue bill,” which notably incorporated our proposed sales-tax exemption outlined in Senate Bill 105: AN ACT relating to sales and use tax exemptions. Originally introduced as a procedural placeholder, House Bill 8 was populated with substantive policy language in committee, then sent to the full House, passing in a vote of 73–11. It was then sent to the Senate, where it was referred to the Committee on Committees and the Appropriations & Revenue Committee.

While in the Senate committees, the exemption amendment was removed from HB 8. It was then voted on by the full Senate and returned to the House for concurrence. On March 26, 2024, the House refused the changes the Senate had made. The bill went to a conference committee for members of both the House and Senate to compromise on the final bill.

On March 28, the Kentucky state assembly approved HB 8, again including the sales-tax exemptions for currency and bullion, and forwarded it to the governor. Governor Andy Beshear has a two-week window to review and decide whether to sign, reject, or allow the bill to pass into law without his endorsement. The assembly reconvenes in Frankfort on April 12 for the session’s last two days, during which they can override any vetoes from Beshear and introduce new legislation not subject to such overrides.

NCBA would like to thank Kentucky members for their efforts reaching out to their respective state senators and representatives during this campaign for the coin and precious-metals bullion sales-tax exemption. This grassroots advocacy is crucial in demonstrating the widespread backing for this policy and its importance to Kentucky’s dealers and collectors alike.

As we navigate the remainder of the 2024 session, your ongoing support and dedication remain paramount. For more information or to contribute toward the lobbyist fees and other campaign expenses, please contact Byrd Saylor at (502) 584-9879 or bsaylor@louisvillenumismatic.com.
 

Minnesota

As previously reported, Representative Bjorn Olson introduced HF 106, a pivotal bill aiming to modify sales- and use-tax provisions to expand exemptions for precious-metal bullion and related currencies. We are encouraged to inform you that HF 106 has been referred to the House Taxes Committee, a significant step forward in the legislative process.

Similarly, a companion bill in the Senate, SF 373 (championed by Senator Rich Draheim), mirrors the objectives of HF 106, seeking to authorize a sales- and use-tax exemption on precious-metals bullion. SF 373 awaits further action in the Senate Taxes Committee, demonstrating bipartisan recognition of the importance of this issue.

Despite the challenges posed by the current political climate, we remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing this legislation. NCBA member Gary Adkins has been working with the local coalition’s lobbyist to engage key stakeholders, including the bills’ sponsors. To bolster the bills’ prospects for a hearing, the lobbyist has requested a meeting with legislators to emphasize the economic benefits of similar exemptions in various U.S. states. By presenting compelling case studies from states like nearby Michigan, where substantial growth in sales and employment followed the implementation of exemptions, we aim to demonstrate the potential benefits for Minnesota’s economy.

As the current legislative session unfolds, your continued support and advocacy are invaluable. We urge you to stay engaged in our campaign efforts and to reach out to your legislators to express your support for HF 106 and SF 373.

For more information on how you can contribute to our local campaign efforts, contact NCBA at (678) 430-3252 or email ncba@ncbassoc.org.
 

New Jersey

In the ongoing push for Assembly Bill A5294, now reintroduced as S721, NCBA received encouraging news. On March 11, 2024, the bill underwent a pivotal amendment to remove the $1,000 threshold and unanimously cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. The lobbyist spearheading the campaign diligently addressed concerns raised by the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) regarding the fiscal note, submitting NCBA testimony that effectively refutes its flawed assumptions. It passed out of the Senate on March 18, 2024, in a unanimous vote of 38–0 and was received by the Assembly, where it was referred to the Commerce, Economic Development, and Agriculture committee.

The positive outcome underscores the importance of proactive engagement and collaboration with key decision-makers. Following the successful committee hearing, efforts are now underway to arrange a meeting between NCBA industry issues advisor Patrick Heller and the department-specific administration, eg “state Treasury administrators” to further discuss the bill’s merits and solidify support for its passage. With momentum on our side, we remain focused on advancing S721 through the legislative process.

To contribute toward lobbyist fees and other campaign expenses, please make your check payable to Richard Cohen, and mail it to National Watch & Coin, 106 South 7th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Write on the check “New Jersey Campaign.” For more information, please contact Cohen at (215) 418-2700 or via email at rlondon@guesswho.com.

Calling New Jersey Coin Business Owners: Your Input Matters in Shaping Tax Legislation
In the ongoing effort to advocate for legislation exempting investment sales of precious-metal bullion and coins from sales and use taxes in New Jersey, NCBA has launched a survey to gather data from local coin business owners. Despite outreach efforts, participation in the survey has been limited, with only two companies responding since its presentation on February 12.

The survey, designed to support NCBA’s initiative to persuade lawmakers to enact favorable tax legislation, seeks input from dealers conducting business in New Jersey. Participants are asked to provide data related to the proposed legislation. The responses gathered will be instrumental in addressing concerns raised by Governor Murphy’s office regarding the fiscal impact of the bill.

NCBA wants to emphasize the importance of dealer participation in shaping the future of tax legislation in New Jersey. Each contribution serves to strengthen the collective voice of the coin-business community and bolster the case for tax exemption on investment metal bullion and coins.

Recognizing the time constraints of busy professionals, NCBA assures participants that the survey can be completed in just a few minutes. Moreover, all responses will be treated as strictly confidential, with no individual identifying information shared with other coin dealers.

The deadline for survey completion is April 5, to allow NCBA to compile and analyze the data in preparation for discussions with the administration. By participating in the survey, coin business owners can play a vital role in influencing policy decisions that directly impact their industry.

As NCBA’s industry issues advisor, Patrick Heller, prepares to engage directly with the administration, the association urges New Jersey coin business owners to seize this opportunity to make their voices heard. Together, they can work towards a favorable outcome that benefits the coin-business community and the broader economy of New Jersey.

NCBA encourages prompt participation in the survey. By doing so, coin business owners can actively shape the trajectory of tax legislation in New Jersey and advocate for positive change within their industry.

TAKE THE SURVEY
 

Vermont

Our efforts to support House Bill 295: An act relating to a sales tax exemption for precious metals sold for investment, have encountered a roadblock. Despite our repeated attempts to engage Representative Peterson, the bill’s sponsor, we have yet to receive a response regarding our support and suggestions.

With only one NCBA dealer-member in Vermont and no Concerned Collectors Coalition members, we need to urge local coin business owners and collectors to join our efforts. House Bill 295, introduced by Representatives Peterson, Clifford, Demar, Higley, and Smith, presents a crucial opportunity to advocate for favorable legislation.

With 43 states already implementing sales-tax exemptions on coins and precious-metals bullion, it’s imperative that Vermont follows suit. Supported by insights from Louisiana Representative Paul Hollis, our proposed amendment suggests removing sales tax on the first $1,000 of a transaction. This amendment aligns with practices in other states and enhances the effectiveness of the bill.

We urge any Vermonters to join us in reaching out to Representative Peterson and other sponsors to ensure the successful passage of HB 295. If you have any connections within the state, please ask them to work with us to support this bill. Your support and involvement are crucial in advancing this important legislation. Together, let’s make our voices heard and secure a favorable environment for coin-business owners and collectors in Vermont.

For more information or to volunteer to help with the local campaign efforts, please contact NCBA at (678) 430-3252 or email ncba@ncbassoc.org.
 

Wisconsin

In a historic move, the Wisconsin Legislature has passed a sales- and use-tax exemption on the sales of precious-metal bullion, marking a significant milestone in the state's economic policy. Governor Tony Evers signed the legislation, Assembly Bill 29, Relating to: a sales and use tax exemption for precious metal bullion, on March 21, 2024. The law is set to take effect on March 22, 2024.

This landmark decision makes Wisconsin the 43rd state to enact either a full or partial sales-tax exemption on the sales of coins, paper money, and precious-metal bullion. Wisconsin’s exemption encompasses coins, bars, rounds, or sheets containing at least 35 percent gold, silver, copper, platinum, or palladium marked with weight, purity, and content, or minted by a government authority.

Wisconsin Statute Section 77.54(71) provides the legal foundation for this exemption, defining “precious metal bullion” and outlining its scope. According to the statute, precious metal bullion includes coins, bars, rounds, or sheets meeting specific criteria of metal content and marking. Additionally, NCBA's interpretation of the statute clarifies that collector coins are included in the exemption. The statute's language, particularly the provision regarding government minting, supports this interpretation, providing clarity for coin and precious-metals bullion businesses.

The passage of this legislation was the result of dedicated efforts from various legislators and stakeholders, including Representative Shae A. Sortwell and the other 15 representatives who introduced AB 29, along with its cosponsors, Senator Duey Stroebel and six other senators. A heartfelt thank you also goes to Wisconsin NCBA dealer-members Andy Kimmel (Paragon Numismatics) and Michelle Voecks-Griesbach (Fox Valley Coin & Diamonds Etc.), along with NCBA Concerned Collectors Coalition member Clifford Mishler and industry issues advisor Patrick Heller. These individuals stood united in support of companion bill SB 33 during the Senate Committee on Universities and Revenue public hearing.

“Pat Heller's leadership and dedication to this cause are truly commendable,” NCBA executive director David Crenshaw expressed, “and Andy, Michelle, and Clifford's commitment to testify at the hearing was invaluable. Together, their collective expertise and advocacy played a crucial role in the success of the campaign for a sales- and use-tax exemption for precious-metal bullion.”

Commenting on the success of the campaign, Crenshaw added, “We are thrilled to see Wisconsin join the ranks of states recognizing the importance of supporting the precious-metals industry through tax exemptions. This victory is a testament to the collaborative efforts of our members and partners, and it marks a significant step forward for our community.”
 

National News

Skipping The Fourth Amendment

Are Federal Agencies Evading Constitutional Restrictions on Search and Seizure?

Lessons from the U.S. Private Vaults Case
The U.S. Private Vaults case, in which the FBI raided a safe deposit box facility, breaking into, “inventorying,” and seizing the contents of hundreds of boxes, reveals concerning government precedent. Despite warrants explicitly forbidding seizure, the FBI confiscated millions in assets and used those assets as evidence to initiate other criminal investigations.

In the class-action lawsuit that followed, the initial finding was that this search and seizure fell within an understood exception to the Fourth Amendment, but upon appeal the court recognized that the government was abusing its discretion in the case. Further, concerning exchanges between attorneys indicated that there could be other government plans to bypass warrants for civil forfeiture.

Congressional Investigation into FinCEN’s Instructions
FinCEN’s directives following the events of January 6, 2021, have sparked a congressional investigation. Using vague terms like “MAGA” and “TRUMP” and searches for transactions with particular merchants, FinCEN broadly sought individuals’ private financial data from financial institutions. This methodology could easily be applied to other investigations, raising civil liberty concerns.

Do Coin and Bullion Dealers Face Money Laundering Scrutiny?
Given FinCEN’s charge to combat money laundering, it is logical to conclude that FinCEN might begin targeting merchants and individuals using certain key words, including “gold and gold coins,” as found in the U.S. Private Vaults case. This would end up directly targeting dealers and numismatic auction houses. Given the immunity from civil liability offered to financial institutions complying with government requests, this raises questions about Fourth Amendment rights and the scope of government surveillance, but we await any ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on the matter.

Conclusion
The Fourth Amendment providing a right against unauthorized search and seizure was originally developed specifically to protect against aggressive tactics used by federal agencies in these examples. The U.S. Private Vaults case and FinCEN’s actions highlight potential abuses and indicate there could be similar situations to come. Congressional oversight and legal safeguards are necessary to protect civil liberties.

Brief summary of new white paper available to members on ncbassoc.org. For a detailed examination of these issues, refer to the full white paper here.

Jimmy Hayes is NCBA’s general counsel, a numismatist, and former member of Congress. He has also served as Commissioner of Financial Institutions and Commissioner of Securities in Louisiana. Jimmy Hayes and Anthony J. Correro (Securities professor at LSU Law School) wrote the current Louisiana Securities Code.
 

Understanding Regulatory Dynamics: Corporate Transparency and New AML Regulations

Corporate Transparency Act
The Corporate Transparency Act is the centerpiece of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020. Created to reveal the owners of shell companies, the law requires that “smaller” corporations and LLCs provide information about their beneficial owners. And why is this important? Apart from those with legitimate reasons for hiding ownership (think of a celebrity not wanting the public—and paparazzi—to know about a vacation property they have purchased in London), shell companies have been used for laundering money, hiding ill-gotten assets, avoiding taxes, and other illegal activities.

Smaller businesses in the numismatic and precious-metals industry may be required to report their beneficial owners. At the risk of oversimplifying—there are many factors in play—if your revenues in 2023 were $5,000,000 or less, you probably need to report information about any firm owners with 25% or more of the firm’s equity. For a company like mine, Knaus & Associates, Inc., which I recently incorporated in Missouri as my business moved from Idaho, I have 90 days to report beneficial owners to FinCEN. Corporations and LLCs put into place before January 1, 2024, have until the end of 2024 to report beneficial owners.

For details about these requirements, you should visit the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s website at FinCEN.gov.

But Are These Requirements Constitutional?

On March 1, 2024, in the case of National Small Business United v. Yellen a federal district court in Alabama declared that the CTA was unconstitutional, citing the Beneficial Ownership reporting requirements. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is expected to appeal the decision.

Per a FinCEN press release on March 4, 2024:

“…FinCEN is complying with the court’s order and will continue to comply with the court’s order for as long as it remains in effect. As a result, the government is not currently enforcing the Corporate Transparency Act against the plaintiffs in that action: Isaac Winkles, reporting companies for which Isaac Winkles is the beneficial owner or applicant, the National Small Business Association, and members of the National Small Business Association (as of March 1, 2024). Those individuals and entities are not required to report beneficial ownership information to FinCEN at this time...”

The above suggests that FinCEN will continue to enforce actions against other members of our industry who are required to report Beneficial Ownership Information. Stay tuned for future rulings related to the Corporate Transparency Act.

New AML Act of 2020 AML/CFT Regulations to be Released in March 2024
Even apart from the Corporate Transparency Act, the new AML/CFT regulations are likely to have a notable impact on our businesses. NCBA will send out a special newsletter shortly after the new regulations are released. Note that FinCEN will accept public comment for 60 days after release for the regulations. If there are no changes, the new regulations will go into effect within a few months.

Gary Knaus, NCBA member and owner of Knaus & Associates, Inc., has provided AML compliance services to bullion, coin, and jewelry dealers since 2012. Contact him at 630-963-6350 or gknaus@aml4u.com.