Maryland Debates Luxury Tax

Maryland lawmakers have introduced a bill that would impose a luxury surcharge on high-value retail purchases, including jewelry.

The bill, HB 1345, would impose a 1 percent tax on items greater than $5,000. On items whose price exceeds $20,000, the buyer would have to pay $150, plus 2 percent of the amount in excess of $20,000. 

Jewelers of America is urging industry members in Maryland to contact their legislators about the bill through its Legislative Action Center.

“History has shown that these types of taxes simply do not work,” says Robert Headley, the organization’s chief operating officer. “They slow purchasing—killing profits and industries. Rather than increasing revenues from taxes, that leads to reduced tax receipts.… We are hopeful that Maryland legislators will come to this very reasonable conclusion and not repeat past mistakes.”

Among the items the bill exempts are those purchased for business use, medical necessity, public safety, and homes. It also offers a different taxing scheme for motor vehicles.

In 2011, Connecticut added a 0.65 percent tax on jewelry. New York and Illinois both considered luxury taxes in 2009, but ultimately rejected them.

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