National Retail Federation Urges Congress to Reject Border Adjustment Tax

The National Retail Federation (NRF) sent a letter to two members of the U.S. Congress yesterday urging them to reject the House Blueprint for tax reform because of its inclusion of the contentious border adjustment tax (BAT)—a proposal that, if passed, would add a 20 percent tax on all imported goods, including finished jewelry and jewelry materials.

David French, senior vice president of government relations for the NRF, wrote to Rep. Peter Roskam and Rep. Lloyd Doggett, both members of the Tax Policy Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, informing them that NRF’s analysis of the plan predicts that it will cost the average family of four $1,700 in the first year alone, which includes a 35 cent increase in the per-gallon cost of gas.

Hardest hit by that burden would be low- and middle-income consumers, he writes.

“We believe that income tax reform that lowers the rates and broadens the tax base can provide economic growth for the economy as a whole and can be good for the American consumer,” adds French. “We understand that to achieve this type of tax reform, we must be willing to give up our tax expenditures, and we are willing to support such legislation.”

French urged the members to reject BAT and instead, “adopt an income tax reform proposal that does not shift the tax burden to consumers.”

Jewelers of America (JA) has stood in vocal opposition to the proposed legislation since its inception.

In March, JA joined a newly formed coalition, Americans for Affordable Products, that’s comprised primarily of major retailers—among them Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Nike, and QVC—that actively oppose BAT. A delegation of JA leadership and members met with legislators in Washington, D.C., June 21 to voice their opposition.

David Bonaparte, JA president and CEO, said in a recent interview with JCK that the organization believes, “ultimately the burden of this tax is going to fall on the consumer. It’s going to cost consumers more to buy jewelry. And with [so much of the] food and gas and everything else people have to have just to live also being taxed—jewelry? People might just say, ‘No thanks, we’re all set.’”

(Image courtesy of Presencia PR)

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JCK Magazine Editor