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Should tax exemption for collectible coins and gold bullion continue?

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In an era of cryptocurrency, lawmakers are considering taking action on a type of currency that's much more old school — gold bullion and rare coins. Next month, the General Assembly will consider a bill that exempts sales taxes from investment bullion and legal tender coins.

One estimate puts the hit to state revenues at $300,000, although John Brush at the National Coin and Bullion Association says he thinks that estimate is way too high, and doesn't take into account the trade shows that would no longer come to Virginia. "They
will only consider locations where there is a tax exemption on rare coins and bullion, so the economic impact from these is massive. There are sometimes hundred million dollar auctions that happen at these events," Brush argues.

The sales tax exemption for bullion was originally passed back in 2015, and the exemption for legal tender coins was approved in 2017. But both of those have sunset clauses, and so the exemptions need to be reexamined.

Delegate Kaye Kory of Fairfax County voted against the exemptions, and she says she's still opposed to them. "I just don't see fairness in a deduction for investors, a deduction for what I see as rich people."

Republican Delegate Lee Ware of Powhatan introduced the bill to extend the sales tax exemption, and lawmakers will be considering that bill when they gavel into session next month.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria. He has reported for NPR, the New York Daily News and the Alexandria Gazette Packet. He has a master's degree in American Studies from Florida State University, and he is a former adjunct professor at Tallahassee Community College. He is the author of four books.