Summer 2018 Cutting Edge


Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Online Sales Tax

E-tailers can now be required to collect sales taxes from consumers, even in states where they don’t have a physical presence, the Supreme Court ruled in a historic decision today.The 5-4 ruling overturns the court’s 1992 decision, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, which prohibited states from collecting taxes from sellers that do not have an in-state physical presence. Under the old ruling, if an e-tailer was based in New York, it would have to charge New York customers sales tax, but not necessarily customers in any other state. Now, any state can require a seller to collect sales tax.

The court’s decision came in response to South Dakota v. Wayfair, a 2017 case. South Dakota had passed a law requiring online merchants with more than $100,000 in annual sales or 200 transactions to state residents to collect sales tax. The South Dakota Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional, citing Quill. The state appealed, and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the matter in January. Speaking for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy argued that, by requiring a physical presence, the current system will “embroil courts in technical and arbitrary disputes about what counts as physical presence.” He also said it hurts the states’ ability to raise revenues.

“In 1992, it was estimated that the States were losing between $694 million and $3 billion per year in sales tax revenues as a result of the physical presence rule,” he said. “Now estimates range from $8 billion to $33 billion.” In his dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts argued that requiring sales tax collection could be a big burden. “Correctly calculating and remitting sales taxes on all e-commerce sales will likely prove baffling for many retailers,” he wrote. “Over 10,000 jurisdictions levy sales taxes, each with [different rules].”

The biggest e-tailer in America, Amazon, currently collects sales tax in the 45 states that charge sales tax, though it does not collect taxes on items sold by third-party sellers. The biggest jewelry e-tailer, Blue Nile, currently collects sales tax only in Washington, New York, and Virginia. James Allen, the second largest jewelry e-tailer, collects sales tax only on orders that are shipped to Maryland, New York, and Connecticut. Blue Nile did not respond to a request for comment on how the ruling would affect its business. David Bouffard, a spokesperson for Signet, owner of James Allen, said, “Signet has been a proponent of the Marketplace Fairness Act for years, collecting sales tax at both our store and branded e-commerce businesses accordingly. This ruling would expand sales tax collection to include all our online brands.”

Jewelers of America (JA), which has long advocated for so-called sales tax fairness, applauded the ruling. “This historic decision from the Court in support of sales tax fairness is a major victory for the jewelry industry, providing a clear path to level the playing field between traditional and online retailers,” said president and CEO David Bonaparte in a statement. “Now Congress must respond by passing federal legislation to create a universal federal framework for sales and use tax collection in a way that benefits businesses regardless of the state where their business resides and avoids a patchwork of state-by-state laws.” Earlier this year, JA and its members were featured in two amicus curiae briefs that were submitted to the Supreme Court, arguing for Quill to be overturned.

The Jewelers Vigilance Committee sent out a note reminding members that “internet retailers who make sales in states where they have no physical location should now check for state laws that require them to collect sales tax for those states.”

~~Article provided by JCK - June 21, 2018

Why You Need Cyber Liability Coverage With Jewelers Block Insurance

Protecting your inventory from crime, fire, natural disasters, and shipping-related risks with a jewelers block insurance policy is a must. Unfortunately, many jewelers fail to recognize other risks, which includes extremely large expenses stemming from liability-related costs. While some jewelers know that employment practice lawsuits and appraisal liability claims are a possibility, an even smaller percentage are aware of what may be the most concerning threat of our time: cyber crime.

Cybercriminals aren't just stereotypical hackers who are geniuses when it comes to computer networks. More and more data breaches are resulting from social engineering schemes, such as spear phishing emails. In fact, the 2017 Cybercrime Report by Cybersecurity Ventures states that 91% of sophisticated attacks begin when targeted individuals voluntarily disclose sensitive information. The most alarming statistic for the jewelry industry is the proportion of victims when categorized in terms of size. According to Verizon's 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, 58% of breaches involve small businesses.

If there's any good news, it's that you can protect your business with cyber liability coverage. Jewelers Mutual's product can be added to a Businessowners Policy and covers first-party losses — such as loss of money incurred due to financial fraud — and liability claims where there's a duty to defend lawsuit or regulatory penalties are incurred.

In addition to covering privacy breach response costs, this coverage also includes notification expenses and breach support credit monitoring expenses.

Coverage for income loss, interruption expenses, and data recovery costs incurred due to a variety of causes, from accidental damage of electronic media to cyber attacks.

Coverage for extortion expenses incurred and extortion monies paid as a direct result of a credible cyber extortion threat, including ransomware.

Coverage for loss of net profit incurred as a direct result of an adverse media report or breach notification following a security or privacy breach.

Coverage for losses incurred due to:

  • wire transfer fraud

  • fraudulent use of an insured telephone system

  • phishing schemes that impersonate your brand, products or services, including the costs of reimbursing your customers for losses they sustain as a result of such phishing schemes

Coverage for claims alleging liability resulting from the dissemination of online or offline media material, including claims alleging copyright/trademark infringement, libel/slander, plagiarism, or personal injury.

Coverage for claims alleging liability resulting from a security breach or privacy breach, including claims alleging failure to safeguard personal information.

Coverage for regulatory fines and penalties and regulatory compensatory awards incurred in privacy regulatory proceedings/investigations brought by federal, state, or local governmental agencies.

Coverage for assessments, fines, or penalties imposed by banks or credit card companies due to non-compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) or payment card company rules.

Article provided by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group – please contact them for additional information

282 US Jewelry Retailers Closed in the First Quarter - That's an increase from first-quarter 2017

The Jewelers Board of Trade reported that 282 U.S. jewelry retailers closed their doors in the first quarter of 2018. That number represented an increase from 250 closings in the first quarter of 2017. The total included 241 retailers in the category of "ceased operations" as well as 36 "consolidations (sale/merger)" and five bankruptcies. The total number of U.S. jewelry businesses that closed, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, was 343. That was an increase from 318 in the first quarter of 2017.

Meanwhile, JBT reported that 45 new retailers opened their doors in the U.S., up from 37 in the first quarter of 2017. The total number of new jewelry businesses, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, was 62. That was up from 46 new businesses in the year-ago quarter. JBT listed a total of 19,385 jewelry retailers in the U.S. as of the first quarter of 2018, down from 20,214 in the same quarter a year ago. The group listed 25,667 jewelry businesses in all, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. That was down from 26,808 in the first quarter of 2017.

Article provided by Instore Staff

Kaitlyn Riley, 71st Alice in Dairyland


Kaitlyn Riley, Gays Mills, learned first-hand the passion and work ethic of Wisconsin farmers growing up on her family's registered Jersey dairy farm. Wanting to share agriculture's story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club. She also founded the university's first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat.

After graduating with honors in May, 2014 Riley served as the 48th Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs. Her passion for the fair industry and agritourism came from years of showing cattle at the local, state and national levels. Professionally, she worked as the farm news director at WPRE-WQPC Radio in Prairie du Chien and as a multimedia journalist with WQOW News 18 in Eau Claire. In May, 2017 she returned to the family farm to manage calf and heifer care. She continued sharing the stories of agriculture by freelance writing for Hoard's Dairyman, and she volunteers with agricultural organizations such as the Crawford County Dairy Promoters, Crawford County Livestock Camp Committee, and Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

"As Alice in Dairyland, I will give a positive voice to Wisconsin's diverse agriculture industry," said Riley. "Through my travels, I will learn from the many faces of agriculture to better educate urban and rural audiences about the importance of Wisconsin food, fuel and fiber production in our daily lives."

Alice in Dairyland is a one-year, full-time public relations professional employed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (WI DATCP). Each year, Alice in Dairyland travels more than 30,000 miles throughout the state, promoting Wisconsin agriculture to various audiences. Additionally, she will conduct hundreds of media interviews, speeches and school presentations.

To Schedule Alice in Dairyland: you can schedule Alice for an upcoming event by contacting the Alice in Dairyland Program at 608-224-5115 or by e-mail at

Gem Identification Lab – 2 Seats Available

MJA will be hosting the Gem ID Lab August 6-10 at Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. In this lab, participants practice the same time-tested procedures and identification skills used by the Institute’s renowned gemological experts. Credit for this session may be applied towards your GIA Graduate Gemologist diploma. You do not need to take the online class first.

Only 2 seats remain available. If you are interested in taking the lab, contact the MJA office at 608.257.3541 or

MJA Preferred Vendors