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This Could ‘Level the Playing Field’ for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers

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JA pushes for ‘sales tax fairness.’

New York, NY – Jewelers of America says it’s pleased to see “the growing momentum toward passage of sales tax fairness” in Washington, D.C.

In a statement, JA noted that the Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA) was recently reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) was reintroduced in the Senate.

The legislation would, if passed, “level the playing field between brick-and-mortar and online retailers,” according to JA, a national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace.

JA explains that both the RTPA and the MFA 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, the organization notes, 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.

While similar to the MFA, the RTPA would also establish audit protections for remote sellers and require 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.

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The reintroduction of the bills comes less than a month after Amazon.com began collecting sales tax in the 45 states where taxes are due. JA notes that it also coincides with several key court battles that could serve as a legal vehicle for the Supreme Court to reconsider its Quill decision of 1992, which established the current system for sales tax collection.

“Along with Amazon’s decision and the ongoing court battles, the introduction of these bills sends a strong message to opponents of sales tax fairness that they are waging a losing battle,” said David J. Bonaparte, president and CEO of JA.

He added: “Competition between traditional retailers and the internet must be fair. JA will continue pushing for sales tax fairness until Congress gets this done.”

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Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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