|Action||General Regulatory Reduction Initiative|
|Comment Period||Ends 3/15/2023|
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am a licensed Virginia auctioneer and Vice President of the Virginia Auctioneers Association.
As a professional in the auction industry, I understand the desire to reduce costs and unnecessary business regulations in Virginia per Governor Youngkin’s initiative. However, it is important to consider the potential consequences of deregulation of the auction industry. While it may appear to reduce barriers to entry, the reality is that eliminating the statewide auctioneer’s license would, in fact, result in greater obstacles for those entering the profession. As with other fields, licensing and continuing education requirements ensure a minimum standard of competence for professionals and serve as a safeguard for the public.
Eliminating the auctioneer licensing requirement would not reduce regulation for auctioneers, nor would it reduce barriers to entry into the profession. In fact, it would increase the burden on auctioneers by requiring them to obtain additional licenses for selling real estate and motor vehicles for estates, trusts, and businesses. Currently, licensed auctioneers can sell real estate without a broker's license and can facilitate the sale of motor vehicles or trailers without a motor vehicle dealer's license. Furthermore, without a statewide license, auctioneers would be required to obtain business licenses in multiple jurisdictions where they conduct auctions, adding significant regulatory burden.
Importantly, without the auctioneer license law, individuals without proper training may conduct auctions without collecting and remitting sales tax appropriately. This could result in lower state revenues and increased enforcement expenses. The auctioneer license law requires licensed auctioneers to collect sales tax for all taxable sales they conduct, ensuring proper management of state funds.
The elimination of the auctioneer license law would also affect license reciprocity with other states, increasing the regulatory burden on Virginia auctioneers and making it harder for them to conduct business outside of the state. This is because Virginia auctioneers currently have reciprocity with 14 out of 27 states that license auctioneers. Without a license law, Virginia auctioneers would have no reciprocity with other states that require licensure.
Auctioneers hold a major fiduciary responsibility for their clients and are accountable for managing millions of dollars of assets annually. The auctioneer license law requires the use of an escrow account and timely disbursement of funds, ensuring accountability for these funds. The auctioneer licensing law also require that auctioneers be properly bonded in case an issue arises. Having these regulations within the auction industry ensure the protection of the public, their assets, and their funds.
The elimination of the auctioneer license law would also open the door to unscrupulous persons in the business, as there is already a proliferation of unlicensed tag sale, estate sale, and online auction companies that have taken advantage of unsuspecting people trying to settle estates or downsize, whereas licensed auctioneers are held to a higher standard of professionalism and accountability.
In conclusion, I urge you to consider the negative consequences that would arise from eliminating the auctioneer license law in Virginia. Doing so would increase regulatory burdens, decrease state revenues, and lower the standard of professionalism for the auction industry. Retaining the auctioneer license law is crucial to ensuring accountability, competence, and trust in the auction profession for the benefit of both professionals and consumers. Let's work together to maintain this essential regulation.
Thank you for your consideration.
Daniel Auction Service
Vice President, Virginia Auctioneers Association