On May 3, 2021, Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law Senate Bill 336, creating an exemption from the sales and use tax for coins, currency, and bullion. “The bill’s primary sponsor, Senator Mark Johnson, along with its House sponsor, Representative Delia Haak, championed the bill through the legislature,” said Dan Hedges (Auro Industries, Little Rock, Arkansas). “Arkansas dealers, collectors, and investors cannot thank them enough for their dedication.”
In the spring of 2018, Paul Mason (Mason’s Coin and Pawn, Hot Springs, Arkansas) contacted NCBA to assist him with an initiative to establish a sales-tax exemption for coins, currency, and precious-metals bullion. A coalition of Arkansas dealers including the Arkansas Numismatic Society was formed, headed by Mason and Tom Poole (Northeast Arkansas Coin Company, Jonesboro, Arkansas) with the help of Hedges. They hired a lobbyist and oversaw the creation of a bill. The lobbyist, Len Pitcock of The Perimeter Group in Little Rock, Arkansas, secured Senator Johnson to sponsor and introduce this bill in 2019. The Senate Revenue & Tax Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 389, but the bill did not get enough favorable votes to pass out of the committee before the general assembly’s sine die adjournment on April 24, 2019.
Despite the setback, Hedges persevered, picking up the gauntlet to lead the effort without a lobbyist when the legislature reconvened in 2021. Senator Johnson introduced SB 336 to create an exemption from the sales and use tax for coins, currency, and bullion. NCBA executive director David Crenshaw submitted written testimony in support of the bill, and NCBA’s board member and sales-tax exemption expert, Pat Heller (Liberty Coin Service, Lansing, Michigan), testified in person alongside other local dealers at the Senate Revenue & Tax Committee meeting on March 10, 2021. From there, the bill successfully moved through the legislative process in both chambers and was delivered to Governor Asa Hutchinson on April 27, 2021.
“[There were] lots of behind-the-scenes discussions,” said Senator Johnson. “Let us just say that the commonsense arguments [the coalition and National Coin & Bullion Association] made were finally heard.”
“[This bill’s passage is a] huge step forward to building economic opportunity in Arkansas,” said Representative Haak. “Thank you to NCBA for all their resources and work on this bill.”
“Arkansas now joins the 38 other states with a sales-tax exemption,” said executive director Crenshaw. “The dealer and collector communities, in conjunction with NCBA, put a tremendous amount of hard work into the grassroots campaign. We especially thank Dan Hedges for his continued perseverance to help make this exemption a reality.”
The new law’s effective date is October 1, 2021.