Jewelers of America Applauds Introduction of Sales Tax Fairness Bill in House

The new House of Representatives bill marks a key step toward passage of the legislation 

June 16, 2015, New York, NY – Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, welcomes Congressman Jason Chaffetz’s introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives of the Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA) and supports ongoing bipartisan efforts in the House and Senate to pass e-fairness legislation. The introduction comes as the leadership and members of Jewelers of America head to Washington, D.C., this week to discuss sales tax fairness and other key issues with lawmakers during the Jewelers of America Political Action Committee (JAPAC) annual Capitol Hill fly-in. 

JA has led the fight for sales tax fairness in the jewelry industry. If passed, the legislation would close an Internet sales tax loophole that has hurt traditional jewelry businesses. 

Like the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), introduced by the Senate in March, the RTPA would give states the option to require the collection of sales and use taxes already owed under state law by out-of-state businesses, rather than rely on consumers to remit those taxes to the states. Currently, brick-and-mortar businesses collect sales and use taxes from customers who make purchases in their stores, but many online and remote retailers do not. If passed by both chambers of Congress and enacted into law, the measure would give states the option to require the collection of these taxes by out-of-state sellers if the state simplifies their sales and use tax systems. 
 
“The introduction of sales tax fairness legislation in the House is a key moment in the fight to level the playing field for brick-and-mortar jewelers,” says JA President & CEO David J. Bonaparte. “We applaud the leadership shown by Rep. Jason Chaffetz and his colleagues in getting the bipartisan support needed to introduce this critical legislation.”

Bonaparte and other JA and JAPAC leaders met with Rep. Chaffetz (UT-03), last year in D.C. and began a dialogue on the importance of sales tax fairness to jewelers. They expect to meet with him again this year, which will provide the opportunity to thank him personally for introducing the new bill and discuss how jewelers can continue to back his efforts to get lawmakers on both sides of the aisle behind the much-needed legislation. 

While similar to the MFA, the RTPA addresses some concerns surrounding the MFA, which was introduced but stalled in the House during the last Congress. The RTPA would establish audit protections for remote sellers and requires states to provide sales tax collection software and integration to remote sellers free of charge.  Additionally, the bill would allow for a transition period for smaller remote sellers.

“Jewelers of America believes this new bill represents a great opportunity for bipartisan support and passage of sales tax fairness in the House and Senate,” Bonaparte says. 

Jewelers of America is a longtime proponent of sales tax fairness, supporting efforts to enact legislation on the federal and state levels. The association has been guided in its efforts by its legislative counsel, Washington D.C.-based Haake Fetzer. Jewelers of America is also a member of the Marketplace Fairness Coalition, a group of businesses and associations from across the U.S. that supports e-fairness. 

Those interested in this issue and others affecting jewelry businesses can use Jewelers of America's Legislative Advocacy Center, at www.jewelers.org/advocacycenter, to easily contact their representatives via email and urge them to support sales tax fairness today. 

 
About Jewelers of America: 
Jewelers of America (JA) represents a large network of the most professional and trustworthy jewelry retailers, designers and manufacturers in the United States who commit annually to JA’s Code of Professional Practices. Founded in 1906, Jewelers of America has been maintaining consumer confidence in the jewelry industry for more than a century as a leader in industry advocacy and the development of ethical professional practices. JA’s Jewelry Information Center at www.JIC.org, is the online source for fine jewelry and watch information, trends and shopping tips. Visit www.jewelers.org and www.JIC.org  for more information.