As part of the government's long-standing resistance to allowing the public to own and use precious metals, several states have enacted onerous laws targeting coin and bullion dealers.
Luckily, the states of Ohio and Minnesota have amended their laws to be more amenable to sale of gold and silver to law-abiding citizens.
ICTA Successfully Lobbies in Minnesota
The Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA) is an important lobby organization for the precious metals community. In addition to focusing on gold, silver, and platinum bullion, the organization is also a watchdog for coin dealers and collectible paper money in general.
The ICTA played a front-and-center role in reforming what was perhaps the country's most damaging law regarding the coin industry. Minnesota's legislature passed a law three years ago known as the Bullion Coin Dealer Law. This legislation dealt with protecting consumers from unscrupulous coin and bullion dealers—but in so doing, it called for wholly unreasonable regulations and requirements that made it virtually impossible for a coin dealer to operate in the state.
For instance, any coin dealer in Minnesota was forced to get a $25,000 surety bond if they did $200,000 in business annually or less. This range of revenue, whether intentionally or not, actually targeted many collectors (rather than dealers) for whom the cost was burdensome. For a bullion business that did over $2 million in transactions annually, which is still a rather small total, the surety bond had to be $200,000! In effect, this requirement put almost every small coin shop out of business overnight.
Worst of all, the law was written so broadly that it didn't just impact Minnesota's coin dealers: any coin or bullion company that happened to transact any business in the state was affected. Many dealers were surprised to find that they needed to comply with the strict (and expensive!) guidelines of this law just because they sold to a customer living in Minnesota.
Luckily, after legal pressure from the ICTA, the legislature made a number of revisions to the law in order to address its biggest issues.
Kasich Approves Changes in Ohio
In another high-profile law affecting the coin and bullion industry, former GOP presidential hopeful John Kasich—who is still the governor of Ohio—signed into law a set of new tax exemptions for precious metals in his state.
Like about 30 other states, Ohio now exempts bullion bars made of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium from sales taxes. In addition, "investment coins" like those that are eligible for inclusion in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are also exempt.
Both of these moves in the heart of the Midwest are welcome news to members of the precious metals industry as a whole. Whereas Ohio passed a new law (SB 172) to address an issue, Minnesota made key revisions to an existing law that was the problem.
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