ACMA Success: Actions & Achievements

The ACMA has made tremendous progress since its inception in 2007. We have had a major impact in most of the annual postal rate setting processes, testified before Congress and regulatory bodies, and established strong relationships with national policy makers in Washington. But it’s our ability to impact our members’ bottom lines that we’re particularly proud of. For example, our members got advanced warning of the USPS summer sales and subsequent incentive discount offers – saving some of them millions of dollars.

Some key highlights, both specific and ongoing, are as follows:

  • The ACMA provides Members with early notice of industry developments and offers greater visibility for catalogers interests in Washington.
  • ACMA Members who joined early on in our history have generated a 22x return on their dues investment in money saved on lower postage if not for ACMA’s advocacy. Yes, 22x – that’s no typo.
  • Because of the ACMA, the USPS has modified a variety of regulations on programs to better accommodate catalogs, such as Address Placement Location, Intelligent Mail Barcode, and in the late 2000s/early 2010s the Summer Sale parameters.
  • Without ACMA’s advocacy, catalogers would have had higher rate hikes virtually every year since 2008.

Recent Actions & Achievements, 2017-18:

The following achievements were made possible due to member support. A number of these are ongoing…

Catalog Postal Enhancements

Flat Rates Sequencing

  • Worked with USPS officials to obtain a 4.5% cut in catalog postage rates in early 2017, “undoing” an unworkable flat sequencing system (FSS) rate structure. The change encourages catalogers to claim the distribution density rate their books qualify for instead of resorting to FSS premium rates and unnecessary mail diversions.

Weight Break Point

  • Lobbied for a weight break for Standard Mail flats from 3.3 oz. to 4.0 oz. This enabled “free” page counts in 2017.

Catalog Postage Discount

  • Teeing up a proposal for a significantly-discounted catalog postage rate to spur greater catalog mail volume. Upon the confirmation of a postal board of governors, ACMA aims to get this proposal to the top of its pile.

Postal Reform Legislation

  • Aggressively lobbying for legislation that addresses USPS finances, cost structure, innovation, while refining Congressional overcharges to postal rate payers.
  • Additional lobbying to ensure catalogers receive no Congressionally-mandated postage increases.
  • Challenging PRC 10-year rate-making proposal to alleviate excessive rate increases for catalog mailers.

Remote Sales Tax

South Dakota Lawsuit

  • Successfully sued state to prevent implementation of remote sales tax collection law that would force out-of-state sellers with as few as 200 transactions per year to collect state and local sales taxes. Supported Wayfair, Newegg and Overstock to gain favorable decision of SD Supreme Court; filed amicus brief to support these retailers’ opposition to the request by SD to U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case on appeal and reverse

Massachusetts Lawsuit

  • Successfully sued Massachusetts to reverse the state’s poorly-conceived rule to tax online retailers by considering computer code as physical property.
  • Supporting ACMA member Crutchfield in its suit to invalidate MA regulation stating that annual sales greater than $500,000 establish nexus, even though the Internet retailer does not have a physical presence.

Tennessee Department of Revenue

  • After testifying and lobbying the DOR, ACMA sued to enjoin the implementation of new TN rule based on mere sales to the state and DOR agreed not to enforce the rule until and unless U.S. Supreme Court reverses Quill.

Wyoming and Indiana statutes

  • Both states adopted economic presence statutes, which are directly contrary to Quill. Sued each state, and each state has held off enforcing the state’s new law.

Marketplace Fairness Act & Remote Transactions Parity Act

  • As a co-founder of TruST, the True Simplification of Taxation Coalition, ACMA helped defeat disastrous proposals in Congress by big box retailers (and Amazon) that would undermine cataloging.

Online Sales Simplification Act

  • Heavily promoted the important characteristics of Quill v. North Dakota-friendly legislation, as well as simplification and fairness in any sales tax collection program.
  • Directed successful letter writing campaigns to demonstrate crucial support for ACMA positions.

Alabama and Other States

  • Threatened challenge of unconstitutional sales tax collection policies in several other states in 2016-17
  • Most policies would require remote marketers to collect sales taxes from in-state consumers without physical presence requirements — in contravention of Supreme Court precedent established in Quill v. North Dakota.

Catalog Industry Advocacy & Education

  • Produced groundbreaking catalog industry surveys to encourage fact-based policy discussions.
  • Published valuable member reports on policy, postal and legal developments that will affect members.
  • Raised profile of catalogs both in D.C. and nationally by educating policymakers and the public about the benefits catalogs bring to America.
  • Initiated quarterly webinar series to increase education and awareness of critical issues throughout the catalog and ecommerce industries.